Linking micro- and macroevolution through studies of thermal plasticity in an old insect order thumbnail

Linking micro- and macroevolution through studies of thermal plasticity in an old insect order

by Stephen de Lisle


One major challenge in evolutionary biology is the apparent disparity between microevolution (evolution within populations over short timescales) and macroevolution (evolutionary divergence of lineages over millions of years). Studies of morphological evolution in deep time have revealed a pattern of stasis. In contrast, studies of contemporary populations and laboratory experiments have shown that evolution often

read more
A philosopher’s perspective on the ‘Cause and Process in Evolution’ workshop thumbnail

A philosopher’s perspective on the ‘Cause and Process in Evolution’ workshop

by Jan Baedke


Around ten years ago, in 2008 Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd Müller organized a workshop on the so-called Extended Evolutionary Synthesis at the Konrad Lorenz Institute (KLI) for theoretical biology in Vienna. This meeting resulted in their seminal edition Evolution: The Extended Synthesis. On May 11th to 14th the KLI hosted again a meeting on this

read more
Workshop report: Cause and Process in Evolution thumbnail

Workshop report: Cause and Process in Evolution

by Wim Hordijk


“Most scientific explanations are causal. This is also the case in evolutionary biology, where the primary goals are to explain the diversity of life and the adaptive fit between organisms and their surroundings. Yet, the nature of causation in evolutionary biology is contentious.” So starts the description of a workshop on Cause and Process in Evolution,

read more
Sticklebacks, selection shadows, and salinity shifts: phenotypic plasticity in novel environments thumbnail

Sticklebacks, selection shadows, and salinity shifts: phenotypic plasticity in novel environments

by Helen C Spence-Jones


Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of one genotype to produce multiple phenotypes depending on external environmental conditions (see our slideshow for further information). It comes in many forms: from permanent developmental shifts in early life to ongoing, reversible behavioural responses to fluctuating environmental conditions. Although widespread, its role and importance in evolutionary dynamics is not

read more
Why is human niche construction reshaping planet Earth? thumbnail

Why is human niche construction reshaping planet Earth?

by Erle C Ellis


Human societies have become a ‘great force of nature’. Among the many massive environmental changes we are causing are the widespread conversion of habitats to agricultural fields and settlements, species extinctions, global climate change, and the pollution of air, land and sea. So profound are these global transformations that geologists may soon recognise them as

read more
Behaviour, Development and Evolution thumbnail

Behaviour, Development and Evolution

by Sir Patrick Bateson


In my latest book, Behaviour, Development and Evolution, I take a systems biology approach to understanding the evolution and development of behavior. Themes that run though the book are the adaptive processes that result in the appearance of design in nature; the active role of the organism in development and evolution; and an emphasis on whole

read more
Defining niche construction thumbnail

Defining niche construction

by Kevin N Laland


Scientists like to define their terms. They believe that it is imperative to pin down key concepts so as to remove ambiguity as to what they mean, and how they are bounded. Definitions, it is argued, facilitate clear thinking and consensual analysis across scientific communities. Philosophers of science, on the other hand, who prize clear

read more
Domestication as a model system for the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis thumbnail

Domestication as a model system for the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis

by Melinda A Zeder


Archaeology has a long history of looking to evolutionary biology for ways to explain the initial domestication of plants and animals. To date, most have been firmly grounded in traditional neo-Darwinian principles. These characterize domestication as an adaptive response to declining resource availability in which human goal-directed behavior plays little if any role. Recently, many

read more
Intelligent design without a creator? Why evolution may be smarter than we thought thumbnail

Intelligent design without a creator? Why evolution may be smarter than we thought

by Richard A Watson


Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution offers an explanation for why biological organisms seem so well designed to live on our planet. This process is typically described as ‘unintelligent’ – based on random variations with no direction. But despite its success, some oppose this theory because they don’t believe living things can evolve in increments. Something as complex as the

read more
Research project 9: The evolution of inclusive heredity through the genomic interactions of symbionts thumbnail

Research project 9: The evolution of inclusive heredity through the genomic interactions of symbionts

by Katrina J Falkenberg


‘The evolution of inclusive heredity through the genomic interactions of symbionts’ is one of five research projects under the third theme, Inclusive Inheritance, of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis research program. Michael Wade and Armin Moczek (both at Indiana University), are using theoretical models and experiments in dung beetles to investigate how the evolution of symbiotic

read more

Back to top