News & Events

Evolution2021 logo
Several members of the MARM group presented their work during the Virtual Evolution 2021 conference (June 21-25, 2021):

Timo van Eldijk: Uniting community ecology and evolutionary rescue theory – Community-wide rescue leads to a rapid loss of rare species

Xiaoyan Long: Individual variation in parental care drives divergence of sex roles

Emiliano Méndez Salinas & Magdalena Kozielska: Modeling the evolution of associative learning

Stefany Moreno Gámez
We are happy to announce that former MARM and GELIFES PhD student Stefany Moreno Gámez will be awarded the John Maynard Smith Prize 2021 of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) for her PhD thesis “On the origin and function of phenotypic variation in bacteria”. Stefany defended her thesis, supervised by professors G.S. van Doorn and F.J. Weissing, last December and was awarded the highest distinction, cum laude.

The Award Committee justifies the decision as follows:

The committee was particularly impressed by the breadth of your interests, combined with the thoroughness of the approaches you used to tackle diverse, yet always fascinating, issues. Also, the fact that you combine mathematical modelling to generate predictions with well thought-through and often methodologically-challenging experiments to test these predictions was highly appreciated.

The JMS Prize comes with an invitation to give the JMS Prize 2021 lecture at the next ESEB congress in August 2022 in Prague, Czech Republic. In addition, the JMS prize comes with a monetary prize of 2500 €, the possibility of a six-months Junior Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study in Berlin, and the invitation to write a review for the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

Zoology2019 logo
Recently Apu Ramesh presented her work (in collaboration with Jakob Gismann) “Movement tendencies in migrant and resident sticklebacks” during the ASAB Easter Meeting (14-16 April 2021).

Elephant movement map
We are happy to announce that in March 2021 Pratik Gupte won the competition for the best animal movement map in category ‘RMap’ (for maps produced entirely using R) organized by the Movement Ecology Group of the British Ecological Society.
The map presents the movement of 14 savanna elephants Loxodonta africana tagged in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Pratik’s story about the data and the map creation can be found here.
Code is available at Github: source code, figure source.

Jana Riederer
We are happy to announce that Jana Riederer – one of the former master students, and now a PhD student, in the MARM group was awarded the Enza Zaden Award for Biology by the the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMMW) for her master thesis “Evolution of evolvability”. In the video she briefly explains her project.

Steven Orzack
Steven Orzack, prominent evolutionary ecologist, visited the MARM group on February 4th. To add to the distinguished company, Hans Metz and Hans Reddingius also joined us. In the morning, Steven gave an informal talk on The emergence of theoretical population biology in the 1960s.
In the afternoon, he gave a lecture entitled Modelling in biology – Past? Present? Future?, in which he highlighted the Dutch contribution to the development of theoretical biology. We concluded the day with a lively discussion on the philosophy of model building in ecology and evolution which continued up to dinner in ‘Da Carlo’.

MARM's 1st Bday
On December 1st, the MARM project was one year old. We celebrated this special occasion on the 11th of December with a cake and a day of scientific and cultural activities.

In the morning, during a scientific outreach session Franjo gave a general overview of our research interests and approach; and eight members of our group presented short introductions to their projects and showed some first results. This session was meant for the general public, with as special guests our office manager Ingeborg Jansen, Rense Buijvoets from Sensu and a composer Reiko Yamada.

The birthday cakes
The birthday cakes
Franjo and Ingeborg killing the cakes.......
Franjo and Ingeborg killing the cakes.......

In the afternoon, Reiko told us about her projects in which she uses inspiration from science in research to make sound installations, compose shorter or longer pieces or in other way engage with audience. Check out previous projects on her website! We look forward to having her among us next year. Afterwards we visited the exhibition “Presence” in the Groninger Museum: an interactive artwork that released our own creative spirits in a play with light and shade.

MARM at the exhibition Presence
MARM at the exhibition Presence
MARMot at the exhibition Presence
MARMot at the exhibition Presence
Last year many MARM people started their projects and presented exciting new results at various conferences. We are looking forward to an even more wonderful and productive next year!

Zoology2019 logo
At the end of November (27-29) a first joint conference of the KNDV (Dutch Royal Society of Zoologists), RBZS (Royal Belgian Zoological Society) and NVG (Netherlands Society for Behavioural Biology) took place in Groningen. The focus of the conference was Learning and Memory in the Animal Kingdom – from nematodes to humans. The programme contained many interesting talks, including a couple of parallel sessions, six plenaries, featuring the Distinguished Zoologist Lecture Dr Richard Morris, the Brill Baerends lecture by Dr Susanne Åkesson, and the Dobberke Evening Lecture by Dr Jolle Jolles.

We also presented our work:

Magdalena Kozielska and Elles Jetten gave a talk A neural network modelling approach to the evolution of emotions and learning

Emiliano presented a poster Artificial neural network models for the evolution of assortative learning


Apu presented a poster Migration syndrome in three-spined sticklebacks


ESEB 2019 logo
The 2019 Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) took place in Turku, Finland, on the 19-24th of August. A couple of us attended and presented their work:

Franjo gave a talk: Regulatory networks link phenotypic plasticity to evolvability. His talk can be watched at the conference website.

Boris gave a talk: Long live the queen: eusociality and the evolutionary theory of aging.

Magdalena presented a poster Evolution of emotions and learning – a neural network model


Daniel presented a poster How can division of labour in social insects evolve?


The ESEB congress was as always intensive, with many talks from different evolutionary biology areas. Evolution of adaptation seemed to be one of the more popular topics covered among others by sessions Rapid evolutionary adaptations: potential and constraints; and Genetics and genomics of adaptations. Two sessions were devoted to theoretical work: Mathematical models in evolutionary biology; and Evolutionary game theory: modern development and interdisciplinary adaptations. Theoretical talks in other sessions were rather scarce.
Many of the talks can be watched at the congress website. Many of the posters have been archived at Figshare, just search for Evol2019 or ESEB2019.

Lukas Geyrhofer
On the 19th of June we were visited by Lukas Geyrhofer, currently a postdoc at the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) in Haifa. He gave a talk about his work in an international project on the evolution of antibiotic resistance:

Public good dilemmas in the evolution of antibiotic resistance

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