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Organised by Professor Tim Clutton-Brock FRS, Professor R A Foley, Professor F L W Ratnieks and Professor S West
The meeting will synthesise our understanding of the evolution of social behaviour, association and cooperation in micro-organisms, invertebrates, vertebrates and man, providing a unified conceptual overview of the mechanisms involved in the evolution of societies, the causes of variation in their structure, the contrasts and similarities between the processes operating in animals and man and the principal questions still unresolved.
Download the programme here (PDF).
Professor Tim Clutton-Brock FRS (Organiser and Speaker)Structure and function in mammalian societies
Tim Clutton-Brock is the Prince Philip Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Cambridge. His research has explored the evolutionary causes and ecological consequences of variation in reproductive strategies and social behaviour in a wide range of natural systems, using a combination of field experiments, detailed analyses of individual differences in reproductive success and interspecific comparisons. In particular, he has initiated and developed long term studies of several naturally regulated populations of mammals (including red deer, Soay sheep and Kalahari meerkats), using them to investigate the pay offs of different reproductive strategies, the costs and benefits of competition and cooperation and the evolution of sex differences in behaviour and development. His work has also investigated the regulation of population density in mammals, the effects of variation in density climate at the individual and population level and the interaction between population dynamics and selection.
Professor Francis RatnieksThe evolution of inequality in insect societies
Francis Ratnieks grew up in south east England and as a boy spent a lot of time chasing butterflies. He began his Biology BSc at Sussex University in 1971 but dropped out. He then spent 8 years living in Ireland, initially in Kerry where he made jewelry and worked on fishing boats, later enrolling in the University of Ulster where he took a BSc in Ecology and where his enthusiasm for insects resurfaced. From Ulster, by way of Panama, he went to the Department of Entomology at Cornell University where he took MS and PhD degrees in honey bee biology and also spent time doing research in Mexico. He then did postdoctoral research on honey bees and social insects at the University of California, Berkeley and Riverside, and taught in Denmark. In 1995 he returned to the UK, to Sheffield University. In 2008 he returned to Sussex where he is the UK's only Professor of Apiculture. He has studied honey bees and social insects on all continents and given seminars in two foreign languages.
He has found that the most useful things he learned at school were woodwork (for making bee hives) and algebra (for modeling social evolution).
Professor Stuart WestConflict and cooperation in micro-organisms
Stuart West is the Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Oxford University. He is a Royal Society University Research Fellow whose research interests are in the field of social evolution, especially issues such as cooperation, altruism, virulence and sex allocation.
Alan GrafenFormalising Darwinism and inclusive fitness theory
Professor Jacobus J. BoomsmaThe origins of cooperation and eusociality in social insects
Jacobus J. (Koos) Boomsma is Professor of Animal Ecology at the University of Copenhagen and Director of the Centre for Social Evolution (http://www1.bio.ku.dk/english/research/oe/cse/). He trained in ecology, evolutionary biology and behavior ( Amsterdam, Utrecht, Oxford, Cornell) and was a lecturer at the University of Aarhus (1990-1999), before taking up his present position. His research has mainly focused on testing predictions from kin-selection theory about reproductive conflicts. This work primarily used ants as model systems and has contributed evolutionary insights in sex allocation and the expression and regulation of social conflicts, both within families and in mutualistic symbioses with microorganisms. He has also worked on mating system evolution, social parasitism in insect societies, the social forces that contain the spread of infectious diseases, and the evolutionary biology of invasive ants.
Professor Jeremy Field Helping in small insect societies
Jeremy Field is Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Sussex, UK. His B.A. and PhD in Zoology were from Cambridge University UK and were followed by postdoctoral fellowships at Imperial College London, Cambridge University and Rice University in Texas. From 1995 he was a member of the Biology Department at UCL in London, before taking up his current position at Sussex in 2007. His research focusses on the behavioural and evolutionary ecology of animal societies, using wasps and bees as models. He is particularly interested in the fundamental question of how helping behaviour evolves and is maintained.
Laurent KellerInteractions between genes and the social environment in eusocial insects
Ben HatchwellThe evolution of cooperative breeding in birds: kinship, ecology and life history
Professor David QuellerBeyond society: the evolution of organismicity
David Queller earned his B.S. from the University of Illinois in history and philosophy of science. He switched to biology for grad school at the University of Michigan, where he had the extraordinary fortune to be taught by Richard Alexander, Bill Hamilton, John Maynard Smith, George Williams, and Mary Jane West-Eberhard (the last three as semester-long visitors). His early work applied social evolution theory to plants, including the male nature of showy flowers and kin-selected conflict and cooperation during seed development. Since 1984 he has been working on the evolution of cooperation at Rice University, in collaboration with Joan Strassmann, where both currently hold the title of Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor in Natural Sciences. For many years they studied social insects, especially wasps, combining field studies with new methods to estimate genetic relatedness. They now work primarily on a social amoeba, using this lab model organism to understand cooperation at the genetic level. Queller has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Joan SilkKinship and cooperation in primate societies
Professor Marc HauserEvolving the ingredients for reciprocity and spite
Marc Hauser's research sits at the interface between evolutionary biology and cognitive neuroscience and is aimed at understanding the processes and consequences of cognitive evolution. Observations and experiments focus on humans and nonhuman animals, incorporating methodological procedures and theoretical insights from behavioral ecology, infant cognitive development, evolutionary theory, cognitive neuroscience, biological anthropology, linguistics and philosophy.
Current foci include: the nature of our moral judgments, the computations subserving our language faculty, the evolution of cooperation, economic decision making, conceptual representations in the domains of mathematics, space, language and music, and animal communication.
Hauser received a BS in Animal Behavior from Bucknell University and a PhD from UCLA. Currently, Hauser is a Harvard College Professor, and Professor in the Departments of Psychology, Organismic & Evolutionary Biology, and Biological Anthropology. He is the co-director of the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Program at Harvard, and adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Education and the Department of Anthropology. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, a Medal of Science from the College de France, and a Guggenheim Award. He has published 6 books, including most recently Moral Minds (2006, Harper Collins/Little Brown.
Professor Clive Gamble The ecology of social transitions in human evolution
Clive Gamble joined the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway University of London in 2004 where he is a Research Professor in the Centre for Quaternary Research. Previously he founded the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins atSouthampton University. He has undertaken research into the evolution of human society concentrating in particular on the Palaeolithic. He is currently co-director of the British Academy Centenary Project (2003-10) Environmental Factors and Chronology in Human Evolution and Dispersal (EFCHED) that was completed in 2006. His recent publications include The individual hominid in context (Routledge 2005 edited with Martin Porr); Climate change and evolving human diversity in Europe during the last glacial, (with W.Davies, P.Pettitt and M.Richards 2004 Phil.Trans. Royal Society B 359: 243-54); The Palaeolithic societies of Europe (CUP 1999). He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2000 and is currently a Vice-President of the Society of Antiquaries of London.
Robert BoydCulture and the Evolution of Human Cooperation
Hillard KaplanThe evolutionary and ecological roots of human social organization
Partha DasguptaTrust and cooperation among economic agents
Panel discussion 25 May
Public lecture 29 May
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