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Parliamentary Shadowing

Rebecca and Catherine were both selected to take part in the British Ecological Parliamentary Shadowing scheme this year. Rebecca spent two days in Brussels at the European Parliament shadowing Chris Davies MEP and Catherine was at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff with Alun Davies AM. Both experiences were extremely enjoyable and useful insights into the […]

Angie went to Parliament!

Angie attended Voice of the Future on Wednesday 19th March 2014. This is an event where young scientists pose questions to MPs; Angie’s account can be found here:


SEB PhD students Angie and Tina in Parliament


Angie’s trip to the US

Angie spent an exciting few weeks in snowy New York working at Brookhaven National Laboratory. She analysed the carbohydrate content and composition of barley leaf samples from an experiment carried out in Sheffield. Angie’s thrilled with the new dataset and is looking forward to designing her next experiment accordingly!


Tanzania Expedition!

Marjorie and Pascal-Antoine embarked on a trip to Tanzania in January to find the grass Alloteropsis semialata in the wild. They were lucky enough to find some populations using the C3 photosynthetic pathway as well as other populations using the C4 pathway. On this successful trip, they gained important insight into the habitat characteristics of […]

A visit from Dr Rubén Milla, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid.

We were pleased to host Dr Rubén Milla this week, who flew over from Rey Juan Carlos University (Madrid) to give a seminar and meet with the Origins of Agriculture team. Rubén works on ecological strategies in crops and their wild relatives, therefore it was very useful to get together to discuss our current projects. […]

New PhD Students!

A warm welcome to our two new PhD students Kim Mullins and Emma Jardine!

Thomas Kluyver PhD

Congratulations to Thomas Kluyver on his successful PhD defence on Friday. His thesis looks at the role of unconscious selection in crop domestication, and is an exciting mix of neat ideas, laboratory experiments, and hypothesis testing using large datasets, where Thomas’s skills in computing really came into their own. One of the novel aspects of […]

Why is rice not C4?

Nowadays, the type of carbon acquisition pathway named “C4 photosynthesis” is used by several crops, such as maize and sugarcane, and allows thousands of species to thrive in warm habitats. However, as illustrated in our paper published in Photosynthesis Research (link), the history of C4 plants started long before the first plants or animals appeared […]

Wiki Friday

Catherine, Angie, Marj and I spent the day working on plant biology entries in Wikipedia, with help from Thomas, a Wiki veteran. Personal experience shows that Wikipedia is commonly the top hit on Google, and is often the first port of call when looking for information on the internet, so it’s an obvious route for […]

ASE conference

Thanks to all the teachers who came to Colin’s talk at this week’s Association for Science Education (ASE) www.ASE.org.uk annual meeting in Reading. It was fun to meet you, to find out more about what’s going on in schools, and to share our enthusiasm for biology!

As promised, here’s a PDF of the slides […]