Seminarios de investigación 2023

En esta página encontrarás información sobre los seminarios de investigación organizados por el MNCN en colaboración con la Sociedad de Amigos del Museo (SAM).




Genomes, genes and microbes; understanding host-pathogen coevolution using island populations of birds

Exploring the links between sociability, individual condition and environmental quality in wild birds

PonenteProfessor David S Richardson, University of East Anglia (UK)

Fecha y hora: viernes 15 de diciembre de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: microbes play a major role in shaping host genetic variation, impacting host population dynamics, divergence, and persistence. I will outline how we can use divergent island bird populations to identify which genes interact with pathogens, then how we investigate variation at such genes across generations within populations to understand how selection acts. Finally, I’ll describe how we have expanded this work into investigating the causes and fitness consequences of gut microbiome variation in such island bird populations.

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Digital Waters Flagship DIWA

Ponente: Prof. Petteri Alho (University of Turku, Finland)

Fecha y hora: lunes 4 de diciembre de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN


Social plasticity: early-life environmental drivers and maternal effects

Exploring the links between sociability, individual condition and environmental quality in wild birds

Ponente: Judith Morales, (Departament of Evolutionary Ecology, MNCN-CSIC)

Fecha y hora: viernes 1 de diciembre de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: all animals have a social life from birth to death. Social interactions with other individuals facilitate information exchange and modulate fitness-related decisions like what to eat, where to live or with whom to mate. However, despite the benefits that social behaviour can confer, there is significant intraspecific variation: some individuals consistently are more social than others. Yet, the proximate and ultimate causes of this variation are poorly understood. In this seminar, I will explore the links between sociability, individual condition and environmental quality through empirical studies in wild birds. Since social behaviour starts early in life, I will focus on the family context as a model social environment to investigate these links. In addition, I will examine the possibility that maternal effects can represent an adaptive mechanism for social plasticity, and I will show our preliminary results concerning this hypothesis.

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Seminario de investigación polar Andrés Barbosa

Arqueología contemporánea en la Antártida

PonenteMaria Ximena Senatore, Instituto Universitario de Arqueología y Patrimonio Histórico, Universidad de Alicante

Fecha y hora: viernes 24 de noviembre de 13:00 a 14:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: la charla abordará las aportaciones de la arqueología para conocer y comprender la presencia humana en Antártida.

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Conservation Genomics in Marine Vulnerable Ecosystems. Uncovering genetic connectivity to conserve marine vulnerable ecosystems using benthic invertebrates

PonenteSergi Taboada Moreno (Ramón y Cajal researcher, Departament of Biodiversity & Evolutionary Biology, MNCN-CSIC)

Fecha y hora: viernes 17 de noviembre de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: many marine benthic habitats are fundamental pieces of the ecosystems where we find them, yet little is known about their basic ecology and resilience. In some cases, these habitats are not only key to ecosystem functioning but also offer many ecosystem services and benefits to humans. Thus, there is a need to understand the scales at which dispersal and connectivity occur between wild populations, which is central for designing efficient areas for their protection. In this talk, I will present part of the work that I have developed during my career about genetic connectivity applied to conservation, using marine benthic invertebrates with different dispersal abilities to deeply understand their global patterns. During my presentation I will describe my main contributions to marine genetic connectivity and conservation in three main areas where I have been lucky enough to work: the Antarctic Peninsula, the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (equatorial Pacific) and the North Atlantic.

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Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913): Aportaciones a la biología

PonenteJosé Fonfría Díaz, Departamento de Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Fecha y hora: viernes 3 de noviembre de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

AbstractAlfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) es reconocido en la historia de la Biología esencialmente por dos aspectos de su inmenso trabajo: su aportación a la Teoría de la Selección Natural y su aportación al estudio de la distribución geográfica de los seres vivos, siendo considerado como el “padre de la Biogeografía”, aunque, en gran medida, estos dos aspectos de su trabajo se desarrollaron íntimamente unidos. En el seminario se intentará explicar de que manera el pensamiento geográfico de Wallace influyó en el desarrollo de sus ideas sobre el problema de la formación de las especies, hasta la presentación de su ensayo en la Sociedad Linneana, y cómo, después del impacto provocado por la publicación del Origen de las Especies, se convirtió en el máximo defensor del Darwinismo, a pesar de las diferencias que mantenía con Darwin en algunos aspectos de su teoría. También se discutirá como ese pensamiento geográfico, unido a su concepción de la Selección Natural, influyó en el desarrollo de sus trabajos sobre la distribución geográfica de los organismos.




Seminario de investigación polar Andrés Barbosa

Patrimonio geológico de la Antártida

PonenteLuis Carcavilla Urquí, Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME, CSIC)

Fecha y hora: viernes 27 de octubre de 13:00 a 14:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

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What Caused Megadroughts in North and South America?

PonenteDr. Nathan Steiger, Hebrew University of Jerusalem & Columbia University

Fecha y hora: miércoles 11 de octubre de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

AbstractMultiple lines of evidence from the American West show the existence of past droughts that were longer and more severe than any observed in the modern instrumental era. These "megadroughts" were periods of predominantly dry conditions lasting multiple decades and they had profound impacts on human and ecological communities as well as landscapes across the American West. In the 1990s it was discovered that megadroughts may not have been limited to the American West, but may have also occurred in southern South America, with at least one megadrought even co-occurring with a megadrought in California. Despite progress since that time in identifying and understanding megadroughts, there exists no comprehensive theory for their causes nor for the reasons why they occurred throughout the past 2,000 years but not during the modern era. Using analyses of a data assimilation-based paleoclimate reconstruction, in conjunction with radiative forcing estimates, I will present a theory for the causes of historical megadroughts in both North and South America. I will also show that this theory can explain the causes of simultaneous megadroughts in both locations.




Seminario de investigación polar Andrés Barbosa

Unexpected capacities of polar marine microorganisms for organic pollutant degradation

PonenteMaría Vila CostaInstituto de Diagnóstico Ambiental y Estudios del Agua - CSIC (IDAEA-CSIC)

Fecha y hora: viernes 28 de septiembre de 13:00 a 14:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

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What it takes to be global? Exploring the causes and consequences of the global radiation of crows

PonenteJoan García-Porta, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Fecha y hora: viernes 22 de septiembre de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

AbstractWhy do certain groups of organisms manage to expand and diversify across the planet, while their closest relatives do not? And what are the macroevolutionary consequences of expanding and diversifying worldwide? In this talk I will explore these questions in crows and ravens, the genus Corvus. Our recent work with this group of birds suggests that cognition, in combination to high dispersal abilities and big body sizes, may synergically act as a range-expanding phenotype, propelling this group towards its exceptional rapid global radiation.

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The Hidden World of Brown Bear Genetics and Hibernation

PonenteJoanna Kelley, University of California Santa Cruz

Fecha y hora: jueves 14 de julio de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

AbstractHibernation in bears involves a suite of seasonally reversible metabolic and physiological changes. Revealing the mechanisms underlying the reversible physiology of hibernation could have applications to both human and animal health as hibernation is often associated with disease-like states. Changes in hibernation are driven in part by sweeping changes in gene expression in multiple tissues. We analyzed gene expression to determine the seasonal transcriptional changes occurring in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis). Comparing hibernation to other seasons, bear adipose had a greater number of differentially expressed genes than liver and skeletal muscle. Feeding bears during hibernation partially restores active season physiological phenotypes, and we show that mid-hibernation feeding of glucose reverses the expression of a key subset of hibernation-specific genes in adipose, liver, and muscle tissue. We continue to study the higher-level regulatory mechanisms involved in the emergence from hibernation. Moreover, we explore the population genetics of brown bears in North America. Additionally, we discuss an emerging comparative project on the population genetics of brown bears in Spain and North America.

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From Hong Kong's urban nature to Antarctica's wilderness: How research can help integrate visitation and conservation in these special places

PonenteDr. Yu Fai Leung, College of Natural Resources, North Carolina State University

Fecha y hora: jueves 29 de junio de 13:00 a 14:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

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Ecological models towards unveiling the extent of global change impacts to polar ecosystems

PonenteDr. Luis R. Pertierra, Millennium Institute Biodiversity of Antarctic and Subantarctic Ecosystems (BASE), Santiago, Chile

Fecha y hora: viernes 23 de junio de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: Polar ecosystems have historically remained relatively pristine from human disturbances. However, under the current trend of globalization we are starting to observe more and more rapid changes across the polar ecosystems. In this seminar a global picture of the human pressures in the High Arctic, the Antarctic continent and sub-Antarctic islands are introduced first. We know that different vascular plant and soil invertebrate species from a list of families have established at the various archipelagos of the polar zone, and so we can learn from their colonization histories. Thus, it is worth revisiting first the historical knowledge acquired in the context of the general invasion science hypotheses. Moreover, we can test these hypotheses by analysing the trait characteristics the alien species share can be used to inform on the key drivers for invading these extreme environments. Our phylogenetic path analyses reveal the general formula of success involving aspects of macro-physiology, morphometrics and life strategies. Moreover, we can compare the alien species attributes to those of native flora in various ways such as their environmental preferences and future suitabilitiy scenarios with mechanistic and joint ecological niche modelling. This is exemplized by case study examples of the observed ecological responses from various groups of organisms such as the seaburds, vascular flora and soil invertebrates. Once we apply these insights to the general body of ecological theory in community ecology we can start to predict the scenarios of change to the ecosystem functioning and ultimately anticipate the consequences for the related ecosystem services. A broad picture of biodiversity change perspectives in polar systems is presented last.


Cophylogeny: Delving into evolution’s Gordian knots

PonenteAntonio Balbuena, Universitat de Valencia

Fecha y hora: viernes 16 de junio de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: Darwin's visionary portrayal of an entangled bank laid the foundation to the now widely recognized notion that biotic interactions play a pivotal role in organic evolution. Given that these interactions directly impact fitness, and variations in fitness dictate natural selection, it can be posited that nothing in evolution makes sense except in light of coevolution. This principle becomes particularly evident when examining symbiotic associations, encompassing mutualistic, commensal, and parasitic relationships, where the evolutionary fates of symbiotic partners become intricately intertwined across ecological and evolutionary scales. Cophylogeny, as a field of study, aims to unravel the processes operating at these scales by investigating patterns of macroevolutionary associations between symbiotic partners across both scales. Complete phylogenetic congruence in symbiotic patterns is seldom observed in nature, often giving rise to situations that can be described as evolutionary Gordian knots. In this presentation, I will provide a brief overview of approaches employed to address the evolutionary Gordian puzzle, both those aimed at untangling the knot and those adopting an Alexandrian strategy. Furthermore, I will showcase the contributions made by our laboratory to this field and outline future research directions.



Deciphering microbial metabolisms combining culture-dependent and -independent methods

PonenteRafael Laso-Pérez, Investigador Ramón y Cajal, Department of Biogeochemistry and Microbial Ecology, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales

Fecha y hora: viernes 2 de junio de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: Scientists have estimated that approximately 99% of microbial species remain uncultured. Until recently, comprehending the metabolism and ecological significance of this vast uncultured majority posed significant challenges. During my talk, I aim to share insights from my past, present and future work on microbial metabolisms. First, I will discuss my work combining culture-dependent and -independent methods (metagenomics), which enabled me to characterize archaea capable of anaerobically degrading hydrocarbons larger than methane. For that, they used a specific enzyme called “methyl-coenzyme M reductase”, which was previously thought to be exclusive to methane metabolism. Today, I use the metagenomics sequencing to investigate the role of different microorganisms during an Arctic bloom showing how different taxa thrive during winter compared to summer. Looking ahead, I plan to use metagenomics to study microbial genomics and metabolisms across different environments.

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Sexual selection and sexual conflict in complex environments

Ponente: Pau CarazoInstituto Cavanilles de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva, Universidad de Valencia

Fecha y hora: viernes 12 de mayo de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: Sexual selection is cornerstone to understand the evolution of male and female adaptations and life-histories, as well as population viability and evolvability. For example, sexual selection helps purge the genome of deleterious mutations, protecting populations against extinction and allowing them to adapt faster in response to environmental changes. However, strong sexual selection can also lead to scenarios where male and female evolutionary interests do not coincide, which we call sexual conflict. A particularly striking consequence of sexual conflict is male harm, whereby males increase their reproductive success at the expense of harming females and, consequently, decreasing population productivity. Surprisingly, and despite being a widespread occurrence across the tree of life, we know little about what factors modulate male harm and how it operates in the wild. Here, I will talk about recent work examining how temperature mediates sexual selection and sexual conflict in wild Drosophila melanogasterTemperature is a particularly salient abiotic ecological factor that exhibits substantial temporal variation (e.g. daily, seasonally and inter-seasonally), and hence for most species in the wild sexual selection will regularly unfold in a dynamic thermal environment. Our work combines behavioural experiments, fitness assays, experimental evolution, genomics and proteomics to show that pre- and post-copulatory processes of sexual conflict, and sexual selection at large, exhibit marked phenotypic plasticity in response to normal temperature fluctuations; even within the optimal range of temperatures to which populations have adapted. Interestingly, our results show that such phenotypic plasticity: a) largely buffers the negative fitness effects of male harm to females and populations, b) can modulate adaptation and evolutionary rescue, and c) could be responsible for the maintenance of genetic variation in sexually selected traits. 

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Microplásticos ¿dónde están y qué nos hacen? Un homenaje a Andrés Barbosa Alcón

PonenteAna María Martínez Vázquez, Instituto de Investigaciones en Materiales, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM, México)

Fecha y hora: viernes 5 de mayo de 13:00 a 14:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: Los microplásticos se encuentran en todos sitios y cientos de grupos de investigación están en este momento tratando de demostrar su peligrosidad. Nosotros lo hacemos con la química computacional y vamos entendiendo algunas cosas, como lo hicimos cuando se analizaron los carotenoides y su relación con la selección sexual. Andrés apostó por la química cuántica y yo por la ecología evolutiva. Ambos ganamos. Esto es en tú honor.

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Parental care from a perspective of a pelagic seabird

PonenteKatarzyna Wojczulanis-Jakubas, Dept of Vertebrate Ecology and Zoology, Polar Ecology Group, University of Gdańsk

Fecha y hora: viernes 21 de abril de 13:00 a 14:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: Parental care in birds is often examined trough the perspective of sexual conflict. This is likely to be related to the fact that most of the studies are performed on short-lived species, where the conflict is apparent. However evolutionary trade-offs of avian parents are different in long-lived species and considering their parental performance often leads to conclusion that pair collaborative behaviour is of great importance. Pelagic seabirds with their high costs of parental care offer an interesting viewpoint in considering parental efforts of breeding partners. In this talk I will examine male and female contribution in raising the offspring in a small pelagic seabird, the little auk Alle alle. I will look at the issue through the perspective of partners collaboration and consider coordination of their parental activities.

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Repeatability of introgression in a grasshopper hybrid zone

PonenteRicardo Pereira, State Museum of Natural History, Stuttgart

Fecha y hora: viernes 13 de abril de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: Species formation in the face of gene flow is now established as a rule across the tree of life, rather than the exception. Hybrid zones are particularly insightful for understanding species persistence because they allow identifying barrier genes related to incompatibilities and introgressive genes related to adaptation. Yet, studies of hybrid zones have been restricted to organisms with similar and more compact genomes. Here, we test if patterns of introgression between incipient species are predictable, using replicated transects across a grasshopper hybrid zone. We test:

1. What is the demographic history of species formation and persistence?

2. How heterogeneous patterns of gene flow lead to current population structure?

3. How repeatable is introgression?

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The Microbial Conveyor Belt: what is it and why should we care. Microbiomes connected through land, sea and air: global dispersion through the Microbial Conveyor Belt 

PonenteMireia Mestre, investigadora Ramón y Cajal, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales

Fecha y hora: viernes 31 de marzo de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: Microbiomes are everywhere: they are a large fraction of Earth’s biodiversity and biomass and have a key role in Earth’s ecosystems, animals, plants and other living beings. Despite that, microbiomes are still poorly understood. Currently, new tools and technology (e.g. high-throughput sequencing) help us to know more about their diversity and their functions. However, there is a need of conceptual frameworks to help us comprehend this enormous diversity. The Microbial Conveyor Belt is a theory that postulates that there is a natural and continuous dispersion flux of microorganisms at a planetary level. This global flux is a complex network of local fluxes, connected among them and operating at smaller scales. This framework defines that fluxes are cyclical, recurrent, and occurs at the whole biosphere scale. This global dispersion is also closely related to the functioning of planet Earth, by promoting microbial biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles. Its disturbance (predominantly of anthropic origin) causes problems in the biosphere, including the health of humans and wildlife. In this talk I will introduce some examples of fluxes within the Microbial Conveyor Belt: how operate, and its relevance. Among them, I will include some examples of how the Belt can be linked to Microbiome studies in collections from Museums.

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Telling linear stories with branching evidence: tales from the history of narrative phylogenetics to reveal the linear highways of evolutionary descent one has to travel its diverging byways

Ponente: Ronald Jenner, Natural History Museum, London

Fecha y hora: viernes 17 de marzo de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: Phylogenetics emerged as a storytelling discipline over a century and a half ago. Telling linear evolutionary stories with the branching evidence of diverging lineages creates an enduring tension at the heart of narrative phylogenetics. I will illustrate this tension by excerpting several stories from my new book on this topic. These stories show that authors in the professional, popular, and educational literatures today continue to struggle to properly understand the differing iconographies of evolution.

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The anticancer properties of animal venoms and their potentials as drug candidates

Ponente: Dr. Maria Ikonomopoulou, Principal Investigator, Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies in Food

Fecha y hora: viernes 17 de febrero de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: venomous animals have evolved over millions of years and along with them, their venom has independently refined for predication and defence. The complexity and potency of a single venom could be reflected by more than 1000 unique and bioactive components. The wide pharmacology of animal venoms is ranging from anesthetic, analgesic and anti-tumoral, among others. Promising is that fact that there are 11 toxin-based molecules approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of various diseases, including hypertension, acute coronary syndromes, coagulation during surgery, chronic pain, type 2 diabetes and perioperative bleeding. In addition, many other venom-derived candidates are at different stages of preclinical and clinical development. However, there is still no authorized venom-derived drug against cancer. This presentation will highlight the therapeutic potential of various animal venoms as a source or tools of anticancer drugs.

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Resolving sexual conflict: Eco-evolutionary dynamics of parental cooperation

Ponente: Davide Baldan, Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva del Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN-CSIC)

Fecha y hora: jueves 19 de enero de 12:00 a 13:00

Lugar: salón de actos del MNCN

Abstract: family life is one of the most common forms of social behavior, yet we are still far from a complete understanding of the selection pressures shaping parental care. In particular, little is known about how parents cooperate to raise offspring despite an evolutionary conflict of interests (‘sexual conflict’) between them. Recent theory has predicted that behavioral coordination of parental duties may lead to such cooperation, but so far these predictions remain poorly tested. I combine field experiments on songbird species during reproduction with game theoretical models to understand the behavioral rules that parents use to negotiate their level of care and explore the evolutionary consequences of cooperative and non-cooperative parental strategies.



  • Domingo, 01 Enero 2023
  • Martes, 31 Diciembre 2024