The history of life has been marked by the association of lower level units into higher levels of organization—genes into chromosomes, cells into multicellular organisms, and individuals into social groups. With an emphasis on the transition between individuals and social groups, ongoing areas of research in the lab address the causes and consequences of these evolutionary transitions. Projects include:
(a) the ecology and biogeography of social evolution;
(b) evolution in metapopulations;
(c) the short and long term consequences of inbreeding; and
(d) the role of multilevel selection in evolution.
Central to our empirical studies and a source of inspiration for our theoretical work are the social spiders, a phylogenetically diverse set of species that have converged in evolving cooperative behaviour and highly subdivided population structures.
A more recent area of inquiry focuses on the assemblage of natural communities at both micro and macro scales. Topics include:
(e) sociality and community assembly;
(f) spider webs as habitat patches and as targets of ecological and evolutionary tradeoffs; and
(g) complexity and biodiversity along productivity gradients.
In our work, we use a variety of research tools, including fieldwork in temperate and tropical areas, computer simulation, analytical modelling, and laboratory work employing behavioural and molecular techniques.
Biodiversity Research Centre 290
Department of Zoology
University of British Columbia
6270 University Blvd.
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4
P.I. email: firstname.lastname@example.org