The Institute has been awarded £1.8 million to help discover how well species can adapt to environmental change caused by human disturbance.
The work has been funded as part of the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) Highlights programme, and aligns with their strategic vision of putting environmental science at the heart of sustainable management of the planet.
Researchers from the Institute’s Centre for Proteome Research (CPR) and the Mammalian Behaviour and Evolution Group have pioneered research into the measurement of protein turnover, the process whereby a protein is continually synthesised and degraded – an apparently wasteful process. Moreover, the smaller the mammal, the higher the rate of protein turnover. This seems counterintuitive, but it is possible that the energy consumed by turnover allows a small mammal, with a high surface area to volume ratio, to generate enough heat for maintain body temperature.
Genetic diversity helps to reduce the spread of diseases by limiting parasite evolution, according to new IIB research.
The idea that host diversity can limit disease outbreaks is not new. For example, crop monocultures in agriculture – which lack genetic diversity – can suffer severe disease outbreaks that sweep through the entire population. But why is this?
IIB's Professor Alan McCarthy recently visited the University of Georgia in the United States.
“My three-day trip to the University of Georgia (UGA) was sponsored jointly by their Department of Genetics, Department of Marine Sciences and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “The focus of my research is the development and application of molecular biological techniques to analyse microbial activity in the environment. During my visit I gave a research seminar - which addressed the search for novel species and genes in the aquatic biosphere and beyond - to staff and students from across the life sciences at UGA. It was also streamed to those members of the Department Marine Sciences who were at sea!"
IIB scientists are leading a £635,000 study investigating a disease that has been the major cause of amphibian declines worldwide. Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the study will combine a recently-developed mathematical modelling approach with long-term data and field surveys to understand the spread, persistence and impact of an infectious disease of global conservation concern: chytrid fungus ('Bd') in amphibian communities.