Cooperation, Fidelity and Evolutionary Transitions to More Complex Life

Friday 2 March, 2018
3.00pm - 4.00pm
Mathews Theatre D

Life on earth has evolved through a series of transitions, each of which involved independent replicating units forming groups that reproduce cooperatively. For example, genomes evolved through the union of genes, multicellularity evolved by cells forming groups, and multicellular organisms have joined together to form societies. Here Dr Charlie Cornwallis will present research examining the processes that have driven and prevented evolutionary transitions in sociality across the different levels of life, and discuss some inconvenient truths about our current understanding of the origin of organismal complexity.


Dr Charlie Cornwallis studied Zoology at Sheffield where he continued to do a PhD on mechanisms of sexual selection. During this time, he also ran field expeditions and worked on projects encompassing a variety of topics from sea bird ecology in Northern Canada to conservation of giant otters in Bolivia. Following his PhD Charlie moved to Oxford University for a Research Fellowship. During this time, he started working on social evolution, which is the focus of his current research. In 2011 Charlie moved to Lund to take up an associate professorship (VR). In 2014, he was awarded a Wallenberg Academy Fellowship and became a senior lecturer in evolutionary biology. In his group, they have used a range of comparative and experimental techniques on big things such as birds, and small things such as green algae.

HOSTS: Evolution and Ecology Research Centre