Journal Club - Fall 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 moderator is Dieter Ebert. For questions regarding this seminar please contact: The introductory discussion (Vorbesprechung) for this course takes place on Tuesday, 20.9.2011, at 11h15 in the seminar room of the Zoological Institute, Vesalgasse 1, 1.flour. Please note, that the journal club will take place during the examination week (no course on the 20.12.2011).






course introduction


Knouft et al. 2003. Antimicrobial egg cleaning by the fringed darter (Perciformes: Percidae: Etheostoma crossopterum): implications of a novel component of parental care in fishes

Stefan Boos


Reich et al. 2010. Genetic history of an archaic hominin group from Denisova Cave in Siberia

Francis Follmann


Edwards and Yu 2008. Tolerating castration by hiding flowers in plain sight

Melanie Clerc


Purcell et al. 2010. Adaptation to sea level rise: does local adaptation influence the demography of coastal fish populations? Journal of Fish Biology. 77, 1209–1218

Cedric van den Berg


Jessop et al. Maximum body size among insular Komodo dragon populations covaries with large prey density

Florian Meury


Arnold et al. 2011. Seasonal adjustment of energy budget in a large wild mammal, the Przewalski horse (Equus ferus przewalskii)

Anita Christen


Vogwill et al. 2008. The impact of parasite dispersal on antagonistic host–parasite coevolution

Andrea Kaufmann


Kvarnemo et al. 2006. Sexually selected females in the monogamous Western Australian seahorse

Michaela Maurer


no journal club



no journal club



no journal club



discussion of reports, final comments, course critique

Dieter Ebert

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 course. 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.

Procedure during the course hours:

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. The presenting participant (the person who suggested the paper) gives a short overview of the content of the paper (max. 15 minutes, better 10 minutes) with special attention to: background for understanding the question at hand, experimental approaches and details, results and conclusions. A randomly chosen participant will be ask to present his opinion and criticism of the paper (5 minutes). Therefore, all participants are expected to have read the paper. In the subsequent discussion, the other course participants discuss and critically evaluate the paper. More details will be provided in the introductory course hour on the 20.9.2011.

In order to receive the 2 KPs for this course the participants have to attend at least 10 paper discussions (out of 12), 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 criticisms 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? 

This course can be taken (and credit points collected) more than once. If you cannot register the course (because you received already CP under the same course number), speak to the course instructor. 

Previous Journal Clubs: