By Carmen da Silva - PhD candidate
I travelled to Hobart for the Australasian Evolution Society conference at the start of December 2017 with other UQ PhD candidates Iva Popovic, Julian Beaman and Joshua Thia. It was the first non-student conference I have attended and it was great experience learning about what other labs around the country are working on.
I presented my first PhD chapters work on environmental thermal variability and how it plays a role in the evolution of thermal acclimation capacity (how plastic an animal is) and thermal performance curve shape (how wide an animal’s thermal tolerance is).
Thermal acclimation theory suggests that when daily thermal fluctuations are smaller than seasonal thermal variations animals will have narrow thermal performance curves and the capacity to acclimate to seasonal conditions. When daily thermal fluctuations are equal to or larger than seasonal variations however, animals are expected to evolve wide thermal performance curves and have no capacity to acclimate. What makes Coco’s Frillgoby exciting is that they live in rock-pool environments where daily thermal variation is equal to seasonal variation but changes in daily thermal means and ranges shift predictably with season, allowing Coco’s Frillgoby to have wide thermal performance curves and the capacity to acclimate.
Joshua Thia also works on Coco’s Frillgoby and presented his work on population connectivity along Australia’s east coast. Iva Popovic presented her work on the transcriptome of an invasive mussel species that is spreading around the world and Julian Beaman presented his work on the allometric scaling relationship of mass and metabolic rate in cockroaches, and tested if metabolic rate is heritable.
Iva Popovic won best student talk at the conference and Julian Beaman won best poster! Well done you guys and go UQ!!
After the conference, the four of us Queenslanders explored Hobart where of course we couldn’t miss the vagina wall at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) and we travelled to Freycinet National Park - a beautiful mountainous and coastal region a few hours north of Hobart. We loved it! We will be back Tasmania!!