Biodiversity Discussion Group

Welcome! The Biodiversity Discusstion Group usually meets weekly to discuss recent research papers and topics in biodiversity from both ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Any interested undergraduates, graduates, postdocs, and faculty are welcome to suggest papers and join the discussion.

This semester, the entire BDG is joining a reading group on Tuesdays at 10:30, reading Mark Vellend's new book: "The Theory of Ecological Communities" in Beaty 224 (Ralf Yorque).

After this reading group is finished in mid-November, we will start back up with discussions hosted by individual labs. The time will continue to be 10:30 on Tuesdays, Beaty 224 (Ralf Yorque).

Twitter feed - Tips for a great meeting - Get on the BDG list

Fall 2016 Schedule


Lab leader

Readings, tasks etc.


Snack provider

Sept 14

Organizational meeting

Bring ideas, bring new students, bring a friend Jenn  
Sept 20-Nov.15 Vellend book reading group Different chapter from "The Theory of Ecological Communities" each week Room 224  
Nov 15

Parfrey Lab

Topic: Reimagining the hologenome concept

Read the first 6 pages of paper: Doolittle and Booth, 2016

Think about how the Vellend framework may apply to this, and how it compares to other ecosystems.

If you are interested in more background reading, see this paper: Bodenstein 2015

Laura and Matt Parfrey Lab

Nov 23 (note change in day!) Room 225

Judy Myers - Above and below ground herbivory and competition

Have a read of this paper: Carrilo et al. 2016

Questions to think about: What is the relevance of this work to plant competition studies that do not consider herbivore influences and to the choice of biological control agents? What types of damage have the greatest impact on plants?

Judy Judy
Nov 30 (note change in day!) Room 225

Srivastiva Lab

Coexistence between native and exotic species

Have a read of this paper: Heard et al. 2013 Ecology Letters

Questions to think about: 1. How does the introduction of exotic species affect speciation rates in communities. Is it important to consider not only biogeographic differences in speciation, but also biogeographic differences in exotic species introduction?

2. Does it make a difference if we consider herbivory as an environmental filter (aka only look at horizontal communities in different environments) or if we consider herbivory as selection from species interactions.

Melissa Srivastiva Lab
Dec 7 (we are sticking with Wednesdays) Room 225

O'Connor Lab

Food webs, structure and function of biodiversity

Read this TREE review paper: Thompson et al. 2012 Patrick O'Connor Lab

Tips for a great meeting:

Ask questions, whether you fret they are silly or not, what you think is a 'dumb question' is probably a fundamental question that many are wondering about or should be. So speak up.

Bring an expert: Special guests, faculty, and experts in a topic are especially welcome. If you're running a discussion and think someone should be there, or just if you know someone who should be at a particular discussion, bring them!

Tips for running a great discussion: Take a look at these tips, compiled specifically for BDG - they contain several possible ways to structure the hour so that everyone gets the most out of it.

Previous terms
Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013
, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016.

Mailing List
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Please e-mail Jenn Sunday if you have questions.

Biodiversity Research Centre
#112-2212 Main Mall
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada