Journal Club - Spring Term 2011

The Journal Club takes place every Tuesday during term, from 11:15-12:00, in the seminar room of the Zoological Institute (Vesalgasse 1, first floor). This semester's moderators are Mathias Kölliker and Joel Meunier. For questions regarding this seminar please contact: The introductory discussion (Vorbesprechung) for this course takes place on Tuesday, 22.2.2011, in the seminar room. The list of journal club dates is provided below.

Date Paper Presenter
2011-22. Feb. course introduction and discussion -
2011-1. Mar Rehling, A. and Trillmich, F. 2007. Weaning in the guinea pig (Cavia aperea f. porcellus): who decides and by what measure? Behav Ecol Sociobiol 62, 149-157. Stefan Boos
2011-8. Mar Lavandero, I. et al. 2006. Increasing floral diversity for selective enhancement of biological control agents: a double-edged sward? Basic and Applied Ecology 7, 236-243. Ivan Juric
2011-15. Mar Fasnacht - No Journal Club
2011-22. Mar Lupold, S. et al. 2011. Male Drosophila melanogaster adjust ejaculate size based on female mating status, fecundity, and age. Behavioural Ecology, 22 (1): 184-191. Micha Eichmann
2011-29. Mar Lie, H.C. et al. 2010. Is genetic diversity associated with mating success in humans?. Animal Behaviour, 79: 903-909. Tobias Schär
2011-5. Apr Auld, K.J.R. et al. 2010. Genetic variation in the cellular response of Daphnia magna (Crustacea:Cladocera) to its bacterial parasite. Proc R Soc B, 277,3291. Sebastian Gygli
2011-12. Apr Little, A.C. et al. 2008. Symmetry and sexual dimorphism in human faces: interrrelated preferences suggest both signal quality. Behav Ecol, 19:902-908. Laura Banuelos
2011-19. Apr Calhim, S. and Birkhead, T.R. 2009 Intraspecific variation in testis asymmetry in birds: evidence for naturally occurring compensation. Proc R Soc B, 267: 2279-2284. Nadja Burri
2011-26. Apr Hawley-Dolan, A. and Winner, E. 2011. Seeing the Mind Behind the Art : People Can Distinguish Abstract Expressionist Paintings From Higly Similar Paintings by Children, Chimps, Monkeys, and Elephants. Psychological Science, early online access Jon Bättig
2011-3. May Thorogood R, et al. 2011.Sense and sensitivity: responsiveness to offspring signals varies with the parents' potential to breed again. Proc R Soc B. Dimitri Stucki
2011-10. May Smiseth PT, et al. 2010.Chemical stimuli from parents trigger larval begging in burying beetles. Behav Ecol. Janine Wong
2011-17. May /!\ CANCELLED /!\
2011-24. May Smith C & Greig D. 2010. The cost of sexual signaling in yeast. Evolution 64-11: 3114-3122 Roberto Arbore
2011-31. May Ortigosa A & Rowe L. 2002. The effect of hunger on mating behavior and sexual selection for male body size in Gerris buenoi. Animal Behaviour 64: 369-375 Lisa Bradbury

How it works:

The aim of the journal club is that we train ourselves in evaluating primary scientific research, and practicing scientific discussion/debate. Why is a study interesting? Is it experimentally well performed and analyzed correctly? Are the conclusions justified or do the authors over-interpret their findings? Questions such as these are often not easy to answer. But they make up a central component of scientific debate, work and progress.

For each journal club session, one participant presents a recent research paper. The presenting participant makes a suggestion for a paper to the moderators (,, who then decide if it is suitable for the new format that we introduce this semester (see below). General criteria for paper selection are: 1) that the paper is focussed on the broader field of evolution, 2) that it is a primary research paper (not a review), 3) that it was published recently, 4) and that it was published in a peer-reviewed journal. Also, shorter papers with a simple message are preferable. The presenter has to send the paper suggestion as pdf to the moderators at least two weeks before his/her session. After approval, the pdf document will be provided on this website and can be downloaded by clicking on the title. All discussions will be in English.

What's new:

The main goal of journal clubs is that participants get to practice the critical reading and discussion of published primary research. Another central skill, also requiring practice, is the defense of research and the effective countering of the critizism raised by others. Together, critizism and defense make up scientific debate - e.g., in discussions with colleagues, when you give a presentation at a conference, or in your PhD-defense. This semester, we will try out a slightly different format for our journal club, such that we practice both these skills. It will held as a "scientific court", where participants each week are randomly allocated to two groups: the offense and the defense (if you are among the defense or offense in the next journal club session will be communicated on Wednesdays). The presenting participant (who suggested the paper) gives a short overview of the content of the paper (max. 15 minutes) with special attention to: background for understanding the question at hand, experimental approaches and details, results and conclusions. In the subsequent discussion, offense play the usual role of critically questioning the paper, and the defense the new role of countering these comments and defending the study. All participants are expected to have read the paper for the discussion. More details will be provided in the introductory discussion on the 22.2.2011. We hope to see you there!

In order to receive the 2 KPs for this course the participants have to present a paper during the Seminar and write a short (about 2-3 pages) summary of the article, focussing on the following aspects:

(1) Background - What do we know ?
(2) Question - What was the question tackled by researchers in this paper?
(3) Material and Methods - What was the main experimental approach?
(4) Results and Discussion - What are the main results and conclusions presented in the paper?
(5) Group Discussion Summary - What were the main critizism of the offense, what the main counterarguments of the defense? Did we come to an agreement with the conclusions? What did we learn? What should be done differently in the study? What would be interesting subsequent experiments?

Previous Journal Clubs: