LERN Conference 2009

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The 7th Annual LERN Conference was held on Monday 14th September 2009.

Thank you to all those who attended our Annual Conference. Special thanks to the presenters, judges, and our keynote speakers. The quality and diversity of the talks and posters was impressive, with a high standard of presentation, confidence, and good science commented on by the judges.

The Brian Ruth award for best talk went to Elizabeth Bourne for her talk “Understanding local adaptation in Northern rock cress: coping with the serpentine syndrome“.

Best poster went to Sam Tazzyman for work on “Modeling sexual selection in yeast”.

To honour Charles Darwin’s Bicentennial year, LERN awarded a third prize at this year’s conference: the Darwin prize for best use of an Evolutionary framework. The award was given to Nichola Hawkins for work on “Recent evolution of Rhynchosporium secalis in response to selection by fungicides”.

If you were not able to attend but wish to have a copy of the program it is available for download here: Conference 2009 Full program.

Flett Theatre, Natural History Museum, 14 September 2009

09.30 Registration

09.55 Welcome from the LERN committee

10.00 KEYNOTE: Christophe Soligo , University College London.

“Darwinius masillae: Science behind the hype”

10.40 – 11.10 Tea and poster session

11.10 Sexual dimorphism in phytosaurs and its phylogenetic influences (Julien Kimmig)

11.30 The application of molecular phylogenies on studying the relative effects of floristic composition and culture on the selection of medicinal plants (Charilaos Saslis-Lagoudakis)

11.50 Neutral evolution of co-operative transcription factor binding (Alex Stewart)

12.10 Catchment connections and cryptic species: freshwater vicariance in Malawi (Jen Swanstrom)

12.30 – 14.00 Lunch

14.00 Understanding local adaptation in Northern rock cress: coping with the serpentine syndrome (Elizabeth Bourne)

14.20 Evolution of leaf shape in Begonia section Gireoudia (Saima Umbreen)

14.40 Recent evolution of Rhynchosporium secalis populations in response to selection by fungicides (Nichola Hawkins)

15.00 – 15.30 Tea and poster session

15.30 Are there modes of cultural transmission? (Nicolas Claidière)

15.50 Are we what we eat? Variation of mandibular morphology and masticatory load resistance in late Homo (Flora Groening)

16.10 KEYNOTE: Max Reuter University College London.

“Population dynamics of incompatibility-inducing parasites: social evolution meets parasitism”

16.45 Wrap-up & Prize Giving

17.15 Drinks in local pub


The LERN conference provides an opportunity for postgraduate students working on any aspect of evolution to present their work to a diverse audience. The program demonstrates the broad range of topics showcased at the conference. We always welcome applications from institutions beyond London.