Closing picture before heading for a well deserved conference dinner!

On March 25th to 27th, 2019 the 24th DZG Graduate Meeting on Evolutionary Biology was held at the Institute of Zoology of Universität Hamburg.  The focus this year was on the topic “hybridization” but participants from all areas of evolutionary biology were welcome.

The local graduate project “Hybrids” was strongly connected to this conference with all members participating in the DZG Meeting. The “Hybrids” project consists of international students and experienced PIs working on zoological and botanical hybridization-related case studies, aiming to answer general questions in hybridization research. The meeting offered the opportunity to discuss research projects with graduate students as well as experienced researchers from the DZG community and to learn more about novel technical methods, especially in genomic and Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) analysis which has been employed more widely to study hybridization.

A total of 34 participants, Master and PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and professors from Germany, Austria and the UK attended the meeting. The program included 12 talks from PhD students and postdoctoral researchers from the Universität Hamburg, Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Evolutionary Biology Plön, MPI for Marine Microbiology Bremen, University of Innsbruck, Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig Bonn, University of Bath, University of Potsdam and University of Münster. The first guest talk was given by Anja Westram (IST Vienna) on replicate hybrid zones and their role in adaptive divergence and speciation. The second keynote speaker Leslie Turner (University of Bath) presented her work on the genetics of male sterility in wild-derived hybrid mice. In addition, the poster session included 4 contributions from CeNak (Hamburg) and University of Duisburg-Essen.

The day before the conference we organized a workshop “Defining your contribution” by Iain Pattern. Eight persons seized the opportunity to learn more about topics such as structuring your research framework, telling a research story from different viewpoints and towards a different audience. The conference was concluded with a dinner on Wednesday evening, during which a short prize giving ceremony was held to honor the best oral and poster presentation voted by all the participants.

Our winner for best talk was Merle Ücker, a PhD student at the MPI for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, with her talk entitled „Symbiosis in a mussel hybrid zone“. Sonja Bamberger (University of Hamburg, Cenak) won the poster prize with her poster “Species delimitation in an Austrian endemic land snail: The case of Trochulus oreinos (Pulmonata: Hygromiidae)”.

The generous funding from the DZG, the hybrid graduate project and MINGS allowed us to offer the conference and the optional workshop at no cost for the participants and provided travel grants for PhD students from Austria and the UK.

We were happy to welcome so many motivated young researchers in Hamburg!

The organizers: Jana Nickel, Cen Zeng, Lisa Gottschlich & Mathilde Cordellier