Ongoing research

We build and analyze mathematical models to understand the evolution of diversity at the level of species, populations, and modules within organisms. We are particularly interested in how complexity at each level interacts with the evolution of complexity at the other levels. Currently, we are interested in the following questions:

1) How do features of organismal and life-cycle complexity affect the scope for disruptive selection and thereby contribute to phenotypic diversification?

2) Under which conditions can division of labor among modules of an individual or among members of a population drive the evolution of diversity?

3) How do natural and sexual selection interact in the process of adaptive speciation?

4) We contribute to extend the toolbox of the ‘adaptive dynamics’-modeling approach for frequency-dependent selection.

We use analytical and numerical techniques as well as individual-based computer simulations to analyze our models. A key-tool in our research has been phenotypic modeling based on the ‘adaptive dynamics’ approach. Adaptive dynamics refers to a set of techniques designed to study evolutionary change under frequency-dependent selection. The most important feature of adaptive dynamics is that the fitness-value of a specific trait or allele is not assumed a priori but is derived from an explicit ecological scenario accounting for diverse feedbacks between the evolving organisms and their biotic and abiotic environment. Adaptive dynamics can be viewed as a dynamic and ecologically explicit extension of evolutionary game theory.

 

Current and past collaborators

Hanna Johannesson, Uppsala University
Laurent Lehmann, University of Lausanne
Peter Abrams, University of Toronto
David Berger, Uppsala University
Joachim Hermisson, University of Vienna
Olof Leimar, Stockholm University
Hans Metz, Leiden University
Anna Qvarnström, Uppsala University
Tom van Dooren, CNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris
Günter Wagner, Yale University