Our special issue on Developmental Bias in Evolution is officially published online

22 January 2020

We are delighted to announce that the full volume of the special issue “Developmental Bias in Evolution,” edited by Armin P Moczek, is now out in the journal Evolution & Development. This special issue follows our third workshop at Santa Fe in 2018.

In November 2018 the Santa Fe Institute hosted a two‐day workshop titled Developmental Bias and Evolution, funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Involving 34 participants and 22 talks, the workshop covered a wide range of approaches toward the study of bias exerted by developmental systems in the production of phenotypic variation, the impact such bias might have on evolutionary dynamics, and the methods that exist to assess the nature and consequences of this impact. Talks included historical retrospectives, philosophical examinations, and a great diversity of empirical treatments of the subject. Significant discussion and debate followed each presentation, and creative tensions emerged around key issues that characterize the diversity of perceptions of what, exactly, constitutes bias in developmental systems, when or how such bias may be evolutionarily relevant, and at the most basic level, whether the concept of developmental bias is itself useful in fueling a productive research program. This special issue is meant to capture this diversity of viewpoints, and to provide a collection of perspectives that will inform and motivate the next round of research, and the next generation of researchers.  — Moczek’s editorial, p.3

You can access the full issue here:

Lynn Chiu

Lynn Chiu begins as media and communications officer

18 July 2019


We are delighted to welcome Lynn Chiu who begins today as the new media and communications officer for the EES research program.


As a philosopher of biology and a communications consultant for interdisciplinary groups and institutes, Lynn is very well qualified for the role. An active and innovative researcher, Lynn’s investigations concern the conceptual roles of niche construction and developmental scaffolding in evolutionary theorizing. She has especially focused on the significance of these processes in the evolution and immunity of the host-microbiota “holobiont.”


Lynn believes in the power of communications to reach across disciplines and grow collaborative communities. She is the founder and co-leader of the Philosophy of Science Communication Network, a community dedicated to the scholarship, mentorship, and practice of science communication from a philosophical point of view. She will take over from Katrina in writing blogs and tweeting about the research that continues to emerge from the project and beyond.


We look forward to working with her to communicate and promote exciting science.


Lynn can be contacted by email at


Kevin Laland & Tobias Uller

Katrina Falkenberg

Goodbye to Katrina

16 May 2019


On behalf of all the members of the extended evolutionary synthesis research program, we would like to say a fond goodbye and huge vote of thanks to Katrina Falkenberg, who left on May 10 2019 to pursue a science communications career in Melbourne, Australia.


Katrina was employed as the media and communications officer for the EES research grant from its inception in late 2016. With her professionalism and friendly charm, Katrina impressed everybody associated with the project, and countless others outside it. It was Katrina who set up the EES website, liaising with Design Science to produce what has become a fantastic resource for the evolutionary biology community. Katrina built up a following for @EES_update on twitter from nothing to several thousands of followers. She wrote or edited nearly 70 high-quality popular science articles about evolution, making sure that the science was accurately portrayed, that technicalities had been removed or explained, and that the piece was beautifully illustrated. Katrina was the principal organizer of the Evolution Evolving conference, held in Cambridge, UK April 1-4, which was universally regarded as a huge success, and was the best-organized meeting that many of us have ever attended. Katrina also regularly participated at workshops and conferences relevant to the EES and brought the event to those unable to attend through her live tweeting and blogs.


Through all these efforts, and much more, Katrina became a vital social hub to our community, much loved for her painstaking attention to detail, her commitment to accurately communicating science, and her irrepressible positivity. She will be much missed. However, our loss is Melbourne’s gain, and we wish Katrina well in the next chapter of, what we are confident will be, an illustrious career Down Under.


Kevin Laland & Tobias Uller

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Tobias Uller receives Tage Erlander’s Prize

6 December 2018


Congratulations to Professor Tobias Uller, winner of the 2018 Tage Erlander’s Prize for research in Natural Sciences and Technology (Biology). The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Biology prize once every four years. This year, they recognized Tobias Uller for “his studies within evolutionary biology, particularly phenotypic plasticity”. The prize is 275,000 Swedish kronor; 200,000 kr for research and 75,000 kr to organize a workshop.

Andy Gardner research group banner

PhD position available: Theory of social evolution

10 October 2018


Professors Andy Gardner and Graeme Ruxton invite applications for a funded PhD position: Theory of social evolution: cooperation and conflict at multiple levels of biological organization. The successful student will join the research group of Prof Andy Gardner in the School of Biology, University of St Andrews. The position is suitable for a biology graduate who has a strong interest in social evolution theory, or an economics/mathematics/philosophy/physics graduate with a strong interest in social behavior. (UK/EU students only).


Application deadline: 2 December 2018
More information: Position advertisement

estuary fieldwork

Vacancy: Research technician position

20 September 2018


Looking for a research technician position? Why not join the Sediment Ecology Research Group (aka ‘The Mud Lab’) at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, working with Prof David Paterson and Dr Adam Wyness. The main purpose of the role is to support the work of the laboratory and the design and running of experiments using laboratory benthic mesocosms, flume system and fieldwork. Incubation of bacteria, diatoms and handling of benthic infauna will be required but training can be given.


Application deadline: 28 September 2018
More information: Position advertisement
EES research project: Niche construction and evolutionary diversity in experimental marine microbial communities

Evolution Evolving conference poster

Conference registration now open: Evolution Evolving

9 July 2018


We are hosting an international conference in Cambridge UK, 1-4 April 2019, as a grand finale of the John Templeton Foundation grant supporting this research program. The Evolution Evolving: Process, Mechanism and Theory conference will focus on emerging themes in the relationship between development and evolution. Topics include the evolutionary causes and consequences of developmental bias, plasticity, niche construction and extra-genetic inheritance – all of which contribute to an understanding of evolvability. The conference will feature a balanced program of talks and poster sessions spanning three days, and be a mix of empirical and theoretical work, as well as contributions to the history and philosophy of evolutionary biology.


The organizing committee of Paul Brakefield, Kevin Laland, Tobias Uller, Katrina Falkenberg & Andrew Buskell are happy to announce that registration is now open and invite you to submit an abstract for consideration.


Abstract deadline: 1 December 2018
Early bird registration deadline: 4 January 2019
More information: conference website

Jasmeen Kanwal presenting her research at the Soapbox Science festival

Public engagment with evolutionary biology research

1 June 2018


Postdoctoral researcher Jasmeen Kanwal entertained the public with her research on the evolution of cooperation in digital organisms with Soapbox Science at the Perth Festival of the Arts last week. The Womanthology blog wrote a nice summary of Jasmeen’s collaboration with artist Audrey Yeo to produce an engaging and interactive show for adults and children alike:


Becoming a ‘complex systems scientist’ to analyse how digital organisms evolve and cooperate
Dr Jasmeen Kanwal, Research Fellow in the School of Biology at the University of St Andrews

Palgrave Communications logo

Call for papers: Palgrave Communications special issue ‘Cultural Evolution’

26 March 2018


Palgrave Communications, the open access journal from Palgrave Macmillan (part of Springer Nature), which publishes research across the humanities and social sciences, is currently inviting article proposals and full papers for a research article collection (‘special issue’) on Cultural Evolution. See here for more information.


This collection is being edited by Dr Jamshid Tehrani (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Durham University, UK). This is a rolling article collection and as such submissions will be welcomed at any point up until the end of March 2019. To register interest prospective authors should submit a short article proposal (abstract summary) to the Editorial Office in the first instance.


Cultural evolution describes how socially learned ideas, rules, and skills are transmitted and change over time, giving rise to diverse forms of social organization, belief systems, languages, technologies and artistic traditions. This research article collection will showcase cutting-edge research into cultural evolution, bringing together contributions that reflect the interdisciplinary scope of this rapidly growing field, as well as the diversity of topics and approaches within it.


Quantitative and qualitative research from a range of perspectives and disciplines is welcomed, including: archaeology, anthropology, complex network analysis, economics, history, linguistics, medical humanities, politics, psychology, philosophy, and religious studies.

immunoconcept lab logo

Vacancy: Postdoc position on conception of biological identity

13 March 2018


The University of Bordeaux and the CNRS seek candidates for a two-year postdoctoral position in Philosophy of Biology and/or Philosophy of Medicine and/or Conceptual/theoretical Biology, in the context of Thomas Pradeu’s ERC Starting Grant project, “Immunity, Development and the Microbiota: Understanding the Continuous Construction of Biological Identity” (IDEM, ERC#637647, 2015-2020).


The topic can be anything related to the microbiota, immunology, and/or development, with a strong conceptual, theoretical, and/or philosophical dimension.


More information:
Position advertisement
Immunoconcept Laboratory website
Institute for Philosophy in Biology and Medicine website

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