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XIV EAVP meeting

XIV European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists meeting

XIV Annual Meeting of the European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists (EAVP) was held in Haarlem, last July.

The XIV EAVP meeting was held in the in the Teylers Museum. This is the oldest Natural History museum in The Netherlands. During five days (July 5th – 10th) more than 200 palaeontologists all around Europe came together to this annual meeting. This is an important forum to share and to discuss about the latest scientific research on palaeontology.

XIV EAVP meeting

Nearly to 80 posters and more than 120 talks summarized the participants contributions for this edition. Most of them were included in one of the 7 symposiums proposed: Fossil illegal, Biogeography, Tetrapods, Islands, Hominins, Germanic Basins and North Sea Basin. Moreover, this year involved seven keynote speakers.

The program concludes with field excursions. This year participants had the opportunity to choose among two field options. On the one hand, visit the stratotype of the Maastrichtian Stage (72.1-66 Ma; www.stratigraphy.org). On the other hand, they could meet the Maasvlakte 2, Pleistocene sands at the major civil engineering project in The Netherlands (www.maasvlakte2.com).

Transmitting Science participated as sponsor of this event. This year we organized a workshop on Geometric Morphometrics, free of charge for 30 participants. Furthermore, as in previous editions we delivered the Transmitting Science grant for young researchers. This year the postdoc researcher Verónica Díez (Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany) won the grant. Finally, we participated by auctioning a course (account of the payee’s choice) and handmade customized notebooks. The benefits went to the European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists to grant students for the next meeting.

XIV EAVP meeting

We would like to thanks to all people involved in the development of this event, and particularly to T. Trapman for some of the pictures. Finally, we remind you that Transmitting Science offers a 20% discount in any of our courses fees for members of the EAVP.

The XV EAVP meeting is coming!

The Palaeontological Museum Munich will host the next annual conference from 31st July to 3rd August and the call for abstracts for the EAVP symposia is now open. Deadline: 28th February 2017.

See you in Munich 2017!

New quarter, new courses

New quarter, new courses

Summer ended and new courses start. However, trying to make more motivational your back-to-school time, we have three new courses for the final quarter of 2016.

Regarding to our Next events section you can check the last courses planned for the 2016 and those for the next year. Before the end of this year, we include three new courses.

The three new courses are:

New quarter, new courses

Therefore, these courses will expand the scope of our courses topics, including demography, collection managements and statistical biogeography. In the course on Integral Projection Models five expert instructors from 4 different countries will guide students on population modelling as key tool on ecological and evolutionary studies.

In November, Dr. Greg McDonald and John E. Simmons from United States of America, will be involved in a 40-hours course, including laboratory sessions. The importance of the collections for research and museology is emphasized. In order to involve good practices working on Natural History collections this course will guide students on the importance of storage environment as well as the identification and selection of inert materials. But also adapting collections care standards to particular environmental conditions, and sound policies and collection planning.

Finally, our new course on statistical biogeography will cover the theory and practice of widely used methods in evolutionary and ecological biogeography. The instructors, Dr. Dan Warren and Dr. Nick Matzke from Australia will guide attenders through the practical challenges (ex. obtaining and processing geographical occurrence data from GBIF), and the assumptions that various models make.

ForBio and Transmitting Science begin their collaboration!

ForBio and Transmitting Science begin their collaboration!

We are glad to announce our new partnership with ForBio, the Research School in Biosystematics. Their main aim is training new generations of biosystematists and strengthening research in this field in the Nordic countries. ForBio has been offering courses for the last five years, and recently got funding for five more.

They offer practical and theoretical courses in biosystematics, mainly but not only, to botany and zoology students and postdocs. Their compromise with education and collaboration between research institutions makes them the right partner for Transmitting Science.

During the visit of Hugo de Boer to Spain, the main coordinator of ForBio discussed with Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno (Scientific Director of Transmitting Science) the different approaches and courses each of them had been working on and offering in the past. After sharing their interests, ideas and experiences, they decided to start collaborating.

Therefore, in 2016 Transmitting Science and ForBio are co-organizing some advanced courses related to taxonomy, systematics and other areas related to these topics. Right now, the courses co-organized by Transmitting Science and ForBio are “Introduction to Naturalistic and Scientific Illustration” in May 2016, “Introduction to Electron Microscopy for Life Sciences” in July 2016, and “Phylogenetic Analysis Using R” in 2017.

The courses will be held at any of the venues Transmitting Science has near Barcelona (Spain). ForBio offers their members free registration, as well as travel and accommodation for Norwegian members.

The common aim of ForBio and Transmitting Science is to prepare the best researchers of the next generations, and we will work together in order to continue offering high level courses and in creating new ones in the future.

Macroevolutionary patterns: How do I work them out?

Macroevolutionary patterns: How do I work them out?

Macroevolutionary patterns: How do I work them out?The second running of the course Introduction to Macroevolutionary Analyses Using Phylogenies is next October (27-31). Already, only a week after opening registration, half the places have been filled.

After Felsestein’s paper in 1985, “Phylogenies and the comparative method”, concepts such as ancestor state reconstruction, phylogenetic signal and phylogenetic comparative methods have become common currency in evolutionary biology.

This course will introduce participants to the use, modification and representation of phylogenetic trees. We will focus on the use of phylogenetic information to reconstruct ancestral characters and biogeographic histories, learning how to apply phylogenetic comparative methods. The course will also tackle the study of the shape of phylogenetic trees and how to estimate the rates of diversification throughout the evolutionary history of groups. Finally, we show how to test the phylogenetic signal of a particular trait.

Participants are encouraged to bring their data sets to use in the practical classes.

Course webpage, information and registration here.

Geometric morphometrics in plants hits the mark (and the landmarks)

Geometric morphometrics in plants hits the mark (and the landmarks)

Geometric morphometrics in plants hits the mark (and the landmarks)The course on geometric morphometrics (GMM) in plants in April this year, taught by Professor Chris Klingenberg of Manchester University and co-written with Ruth Flatscher at Els Hostalets de Pierola, Barcelona (Spain), was the first successful course on this subject for Transmitting Science: Geometric Morphometrics with Plants.

The almost impossible is attempted –to be a course that is both an introduction to the subject and is challenging enough to interest academics using GMM as a tool in their research– but this is achieved. The measure of its success is that the writer of this news item was a course member and an absolute beginner before starting the course. He is now smitten with an interest in GMM.

Shape analysis has only recently become easily accessible to a wide variety of people through the development of user-friendly software, an example of which is the widely-used software written by Professor Klingenberg himself. But shape analysis in plants has a long way to go before it gets to the level of use in other disciplines. What excites the most is the realisation that there’s so much out there to be discovered using GMM with plants.

This became clear when Professor Klingenberg used examples from recent research papers and interwove them with the theory behind GMM, demonstrating the scope of applications of GMM in taxonomy, phylogeny, ontogeny, genetics and more. Data from some of the research examples involving plants were worked through software routines in hands-on demonstrations. There was also time for everyone to complete a small project with data collected in the field or laboratory.

The scope of the course was breathtaking and participants found it highly instructive and seriously inspiring.

Go to the course Geometric Morphometrics with Plants.

Great success of the first two courses held in Argentina

Great success of the first two courses held in Argentina

Great success of the first two courses held in ArgentinaThe first two courses organised by Transmitting Science in Argentina jointly with the IGEVET (Instituto de Genética Veterinaria “Ingeniero Fernando Noel Dulout”) – CONICET (National Scientific and Technical Research Council – Argentina) took place last March, 2014. These courses (Morfometría Geométrica para Principiantes and Studying Evolution with Geometric Morphometrics) were held at the premises of the CONICET CCT La Plata, Buenos Aires (Argentina), and we have to acknowledge its personnel, who have been extremely kindly and helpful during our stance there.

With 68 participants from seven different countries (Ecuador, Paraguay, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Argentina), the courses exceeded organisers’ expectations. In a friendly atmosphere, sharing mates and coffee, participants deepen in their knowledge about geometric morphometrics and the use of this methodology for understanding how evolution works. From landmark definition and procrustes superimposition, to more complex concepts as evolutionary allometry or independent contrasts, participants went home with a full kit of tools to apply in their research.

These first two courses have opened the door to organising new courses in Argentina, and we will be back there in 2015 with more courses!

Go to the courses Morfometría Geométrica para Principiantes and Studying Evolution with Geometric Morphometrics.

Studying the evolution of shape: The 3rd edition of the course Geometric Morphometrics and Phylogeny has finished

Studying the evolution of shape: The 3rd edition of the course Geometric Morphometrics and Phylogeny has finished

Studying the evolution of shape: The 3rd edition of the course Geometric Morphometrics and Phylogeny has finishedResearchers from around the world (Brazil, USA, Colombia, Greece, France, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, UK and Spain) met in Sabadell the first week of September to learn from Dr. Klingenberg how to analyse the shape variation in a phylogenetic context.

While mornings were devoted to theory and software learning, people have spent long evenings working with their own data. The huge variety of biological questions promoted debate, questioning and discussion: From flowers and leaves to snails and mosquitoes, from variation between populations to variation inside a family, from phylogenetic correction and estimate ancestral states to levels of integration during evolution, it was plenty of different research lines based on evaluating shape and evolution.

Thanks to all for coming!

Go to the course Geometric Morphometrics and Phylogeny.

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