Friday, November 30, 2012

Saša is in Slovenia

Saša has recently come to Slovenia to finish several previously initiated projects including Caspian grayling and trout.
After his arrival to the bus station in Ljubljana, he immediately proceeded to the lab in Rodica to start DNA isolation. Exceptionally hard-working and valuable guy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

23rd LIFFe

With revival of BTRG site, we had also awakened traditional visit of LIFFe festival, the participation of which is obligatory. Only the most eager members (Tamara and Urška) plus the new ones (Ida and David), who did not dare to say no, and of course Aleš-the boss attended the event.

We were watching The Loneliest Planet, which was far from what the trailer promised (see below).

Nobody liked it but we've been talking about it for quite some time. After the movie, we went to Mexican restaurant to drown disappointment in booze and hot food. Lots of fun.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Urška's PhD defense

Three weeks ago, Urška defended her PhD “Genetic background of coloration and color pattern formation in trout”, mentored by Simona Sušnik Bajec.

To identify and characterize genes potentially involved in skin coloration and color pattern formation in marble trout (Salmo marmoratus), she compared skin transcriptome profiles from marble trout, brown trout (S. trutta), and marble trout x brown trout hybrids exhibiting the marble color pattern, using a salmonid 32K cDNA microarray.

Thesis highlights: •transcription analysis revealed seven genes that are differentially expressed between marble and brown trout and are involved in the biological process of animal pigmentation •the formation of marble color pattern in trout depends on wnt signaling pathway •the origin of marble color pattern is based on reaction-diffusion mechanism.

It was a very nice presentation, actually for most of us her first public appearance on the stage.

Just before the presentation started (no worries evident)…

…and just after it face to face with passionate fisherman prof. dr. Rado Komel, a member of examination board.

All's well that ends well.

Let’s see what Darwin says about it.

Kinsfolk never give up.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Russian expedition - part I

In 2010, Saša got acquainted with Dr. Oleg Askeyev, the head of Biomonitoring Laboratory at the Institute of Problems in Ecology and Mineral Wealth, Tatarstan Academy of Sciences in Kazan. He found out about us via this website. Due to our common interests, we saw a potential of mutual collaboration; in August 2011, Saša, Matjaž Červek (my outdoor buddy) and I responded to a Russian invitation for a 14-days expedition to pre-Ural area in Tatarstan, Orenburg and Bashkiria, in the first place to perform Thymallus thymallus sampling, which took place in the middle Kama and upper Ural river systems.

 > The expedition team: Igor (Oleg’s twin brother, ichthyologist), Aleš, Oleg, Matjaž, Saša, Sergey Monakhov (ichthyologist, PhD student), Rustem the driver, Dmitry (biologist and excellent cook in the field) and the famous UAZ 4WD van. Saša Belayev (small mammal  expert and curator of the Natural history museum) is taking the picture.

From my perspective, the celebrity of this expedition was grayling; we found them in small headstreams, which are in Slovenia normally populated with brown trout only. This is only one of several differences that make the Caspian grayling distinct from the Sava ones.

Net was the main fishing tool; quite some skill is needed to use it effectively.

For more details, see Field trips.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New publication

A paper describing a new nDNA-based method for discriminating Salmo sp. purebreds from hybrids has been just published in Aquaculture. The method, which is based on KASPar technology, is especially important for marble trout conservation.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nejc presented his Diploma work

In September, Nejc has accomplished his diploma work “Taxonomic analysis of bullhead (Cottus sp.) in Slovenia with application of molecular methods” and presented it at the Department of Biology, University of Ljubljana.

Diploma highlights: •mtDNA analysis revealed the distinctness of C. metae and supports its classification into a new species •considerable phylogeographic polymorphism was found in the Western Balkans possibly giving rise to new species •two major colonization waves of bullhead to Europe presumably started in the Western Balkans

During his diploma stage, Nejc was brought face to face with the concept of minimalism.