Open to public.

  • FPO: Wenying Liao

    Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 12:00 pm

    The Princeton University

    Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology





  • The evolution of seasonal camouflage

    Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 12:30 pm

    Mismatches between the timing of key life history events and optimal environmental conditions have emerged as an important threat to biodiversity, yet the evolutionary dynamics of most seasonal adaptations remain poorly understood. We have used extensive museum archives to map geographic clines in polymorphic winter white versus brown seasonal pelage camouflage of several species against local climatic variables, identifying global regions that may foster evolutionary responses to rapidly changing climates.

  • The scales that limit: Allometry and the physical boundaries of evolution

    Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 12:30 pm

    Organisms are subject to the laws of physics, so the process of evolution is constrained by these fundamental laws. Classic and recent studies of the biophysical limits facing organisms have shown how fundamental physical constraints can be used to predict broad-scale relationships between body size and organismal biomechanics and physiology. In this talk I will provide a broad framework for the connection between physical constraints, evolution, and allometric physiology.

  • The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evoluation

    Thu, Dec 12, 2019, 12:30 pm

    A key problem for any evolutionary explanation of human cooperation is why humans tend to have a very low propensity for face-to-face aggression, because without this unusual feature trust and cooperation would be strongly inhibited. Our species’ relative docility appears to have resulted from a process of self-domestication that has lasted about 300,000 years and happened because men conspired to use proactive violence to kill hyper-aggressive bullies. Self-domestication is expected to be a widespread phenomenon in animal evolution, suggesting diverse opportunities to test these ideas.

  • On biodiversity mechanisms and a biodiversity crisis

    Thu, Nov 21, 2019, 12:30 pm

    How species richness is maintained in ecological communities keeps both theoretical and empirical ecologists fascinated. Important recent topics are how theory can be made more relevant to real-world ecosystems and how empirical observations can properly test theoretical predictions. We have shown that most of the common tests of modern coexistence theory can demonstrate that species interactions are stabilized but not that species stably coexist. Moreover, theory applies to low diversity communities only, while current challenges are with maintaining high-diversity ecosystems.

  • Learning from Helminths: Macrophages, Type 2 immunity & Tissue Repair

    Thu, Nov 14, 2019, 12:30 pm

    Infection with parasitic worms (helminths) is strongly associated with the induction of a type 2 immune response, which is beneficial for the host by controlling parasite numbers, reducing inflammation and repairing damage caused by tissue migrating parasites.  Macrophages with a distinct type 2 expression profile and are found in high numbers at the site of helminth infection, but also in non-infectious settings such as tissue injury.  The infectious agent, the host genotype and the local site of infection/injury, together dictate the macrop

  • How our biases may influence our study of animal perception: Three tales from the sea

    Thu, Nov 7, 2019, 12:30 pm

    It has long been appreciated (and celebrated) that certain species have sensory capabilities that humans do not share, for example polarization, ultraviolet, and infrared vision. What is less appreciated however, is that our position as terrestrial human scientists can significantly affect our study of animal senses and signals, even within modalities that we do share.

  • Tracking short-term evolution in pedigreed wild population

    Thu, Oct 24, 2019, 12:30 pm

    Recent studies have demonstrated evolution on ecological timescales in a number of different organisms, and understanding the evolutionary processes that shape patterns of genetic variation over short timescales is directly relevant for conserving declining species in the face of rapid environmental change. While much attention has been given to phenotypic evolution on short timescales, investigations of short-term evolutionary dynamics at the genomic level are challenging and rare.

  • Information gerrymandering and undemocratic decisions

    Thu, Oct 17, 2019, 12:30 pm

    People must integrate disparate sources of information when making decisions, especially in social contexts. But information does not always flow freely. It can be constrained by social networks and distorted by zealots and automated bots. I will discuss recent collaborative work using a voter game as a model system to study information flow in collective decisions. In the game, players are assigned to competing parties and placed on an ‘influence network’ that determines whose voting intentions each player can observe.


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