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Evolution and biodiversity research

We are a group of academics working across a broad range of scales and systems.

We work across a broad range of scales and systems, including;

Molecular or genomic fine scales

Whole organisms;

  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Parasites
  • Plants
  • Animals

Communities or ecosystems at the macro scale

The interests of the Evolution and Biodiversity group cover wide-ranging issues: from the dynamics of translation through to evolutionary process on the paleontological scale, from understanding bacterial epidemics over real time to understanding broad scale ecological and conservation related processes. We collaborate across many disciplines, including; Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, Physics, Pharmacy and Chemistry.

We aim to answer big questions in evolutionary biology and biodiversity, such as;

  • Where in a genome does selection act and why?
  • How much should each parent contribute to raising offspring?
  • Does the fossil record document driven trends for increasing complexity?
  • Do vaccination programs select for pathogens that escape the vaccine response?
  • What drives weeds, pests, microbes and tumours to evolve resistance to the drugs we use to control them and how can this be mitigated?
  • Can we ever predict evolutionary outcomes?
  • And, how can we apply our understanding of evolution to address global challenges?

Methodologically, the group increasingly exploits sequencing data, be it to analyse epidemic structures of microbial populations, understand the evolution of splicing, or determine the genetic correlates of complex traits. The group has particular expertise in analysis of large datasets.

Research areas include:

  • Paleontological approaches to fundamental evolutionary questions
  • Genetic and developmental approaches to the evolution of complex traits
  • Evolution of host-pathogen interactions
  • Comparative and experimental analysis of social behaviour
  • Conservation biology of ecosystems and organisms
  • Theoretical and applied bioinformatics
  • Genetics of adaptation and speciation
  • Experimental evolution
  • Development and appraisal of resources for evolution outreach and education
  • Adaptation to changing environments

Evolution and diversity

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