People

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GROUP LEADER


I want to understand how evolution works. This requires an integrative approach – from molecular and developmental biology to ecology – guided by mathematical modelling and conceptual analysis. The projects in my group span across a range of topics, but most are designed to reveal how functional processes of organisms – development, physiology and behaviour – influence their evolution. We mostly study lizards and water fleas, and combine experiments with genomic analyses, field studies and comparative methods. Several projects make use of mathematical modelling to predict or interpret evolutionary outcomes. The integration of development and evolution also raises conceptual issues, which I explore in contributions aimed towards biologists and philosophers of science.

Current research projects include how phenotypic plasticity influences adaptive diversification, the evolutionary causes and consequences of extra-genetic inheritance, and the genetic, developmental and ecological factors underlying evolution through introgressive hybridization.

CV     Publication list     LU website    tobias.uller@biol.lu.se

Tobias Uller

Professor of Evolutionary Biology Wallenberg Academy Fellow

 

POST DOCS


I am broadly interested in evolutionary ecology, particularly in how the environment and developmental processes affect evolution. In my current research, I take a meta-analytical approach to investigate the relative importance of developmental bias in evolution. I also work on maternal effects in water fleas (Daphnia spp.): we investigate the mechanism and evolutionary significance of non-genetic inheritance of tolerance to toxins produced by cyanobacteria. Before, I worked in Oxford on social behaviour and genetics in great tits. I have looked at the heritability of social network traits and took also a population genetic approach to investigate how space and social structure affect the distribution of genotypes in the population. I did my PhD in Groningen on the ecological and evolutionary consequences of brood sex ratio variation, also in great tits.

Publication list     LU website    Personal website  reinder.radersma@biol.lu.se

 

Reinder Radersma

Reinder

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I am a member of the ‘Evolutionary Biology’ research group. My main drive is to understand the relationship between evolution and development – how development itself evolves, and how developmental systems shape evolutionary trajectories. I mainly use Anolis lizard to frame my questions: with more than 400 species of endless forms most beautiful, they offer a rich playground for the curious biologist. With the goal of understanding how evolution produces diversity, I am studying different levels of biological organization – from organismal morphology to genomes. My three main projects are aimed at comparative embryology across the genus, developmental bias in Anolis morphospace, and the impact of transposable elements on evolution and development. If you want to learn more about my research, please click on my LU website.

Publication list      nathalie.feiner@biol.lu.se

 

Nathalie Feiner

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My general research interests are mainly focused on the mechanisms of evolution. I am particularly interested in the genetic basis of evolutionary novelties. The principles of molecular evolution and population genetics, along with the advances in high throughput sequencing technology and bioinformatics, give us the opportunity to study the overall perspective of adaptation on -omics levels. As a postdoc researcher at Lund University, I am working on the project investigating the genomic signature of sexually selected hybridization in wall lizards (Podarcis muralis). We aim to generate a comprehensive understanding of how sexual and natural selection upon secondary contact shapes genome-wide patterns of introgression and geographic variation in phenotypic diversity in the wild.

Publication list     LU website    weizhao.yang@biol.lu.se

 

Weizhao Yang

 

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My aim is to understand how regulatory networks evolve to integrate genetic, developmental and environmental factors. I focus on how phenotypic evolution can be caused by changes in the interactions between groups of heterogeneous components rather than by individual genes. My methods include integrative analyses of heterogeneous high-throughput datasets based on theoretical evolutionary modelling. I am using simulations of environmental and genetic networks to explain the evolution of phenotypic plasticity. I aim to provide a theoretical backbone for empirical studies on how environmental interactions affect the structure of developmental regulation and to understand which regulatory architectures evolve to dampen, propagate or interpret environmental inputs.

Publication list     LU website    alfredo.rago@biol.lu.se

 

Alfredo Rago

 

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My research is directed towards understanding and interpreting evolutionary patterns in a conceptual framework that quantifies morphological variation along continuous spectra rather than into discrete units and characters. Specifically my focus has been on studying the relationship between environment and development and the hypothetical process of plasticity-led evolution. I have focused my work so far on developing morphometric methods capable of generating intra- and interspecific paleontological datasets that are informative for this topic and interpreting their results. In my current work I will be continuing this effort as well as employing the methods developed in studies of developmental plasticity in extant organisms.

Publication list     LU website    illiam.jackson@biol.lu.se

 

Illiam Jackson

 

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I am interested in understanding the causes and consequences of phenotypic variation, in particular for early life history and developmental traits. For my PhD work I measured metabolic scaling with size and temperature during development in marine invertebrates and fish to understand key patterns in life-history theory. I used a combination of field work, measures of physiological rates, and meta-analyses to propose potentially general mechanisms for variation in maternal investment strategies. I also measured selection on metabolic rate and key life-history traits to determine how micro-evolutionary processes can maintain variation in metabolic rates, and drive the pace-of-life across environments. In my current work as a Wenner Gren postdoctoral fellow, I will investigate the contribution of maternal effects as a mechanism for rapid countergradient adaptation in wall lizards. To answer how populations adapt to cool climates, which severely limits embryo growth, I will study populations across the native range, as well as populations introduced from Italy to England. I will combine field sampling and experimental work to determine the biochemical and physiological mechanisms, and the underlying genomic basis, of maternal and embryonic adaptations to cool climate.

Publication list     LU website      amanda.pettersen@biol.lu.se

 

Amanda Pettersen

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I am interested in understanding the mechanisms that underlie phenotypic evolution. My current research focuses on the role of developmental mechanisms in the evolution of phenotypic plasticity. In particular, I am interested in the evolution of polyphenisms, a form of plasticity that gives rise to discrete alternative phenotypes. I aim to reveal how polyphenisms evolve by modeling the evolution of their underlying developmental regulatory architecture. In addition, I will apply the model to the specific case of environmental sex determination and study how evolutionary transitions in sex-determining systems are mediated by the evolution of gene regulatory networks. During my PhD, my research focused on the role of symbionts in the evolution of their hosts. In particular, I worked on Wolbachia, widespread bacterial endosymbionts of insects and other arthropods. These symbionts affect development and reproduction of their hosts in remarkable ways, and I theoretically investigated several of Wolbachia‘s effects on host phenotype and their evolutionary consequences.

Publication list     LU website        roman.zug@biol.lu.se

 

Roman Zug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PhD STUDENTS


I am interested in how the environment influences the traits of organisms. As a PhD student at Lund University, under the supervision of Tobias Uller, I will work with water fleas (Daphnia) to study phenotypic plasticity and non-genetic inheritance. Due to their unique biology, Daphnia is a great model system for studying such questions. Not only do they produce clones, making it possible to raise large cohorts of genetically identical individuals, but they also have a short generation time and are small and easy to keep the lab. In addition, Daphnia can also reproduce sexually and create resting eggs that can stay dormant in lake sediments for decades. This opens up the possibility of resurrection studies to investigate evolutionary questions concerning the relationship between plasticity and adaptation.

LU website     alexander.hegg@biol.lu.se

Alexander Hegg

 

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I am a PhD student at University of Tasmania, under the supervision of Tobias Uller and Geoff While. I am interested in the mechanisms that generate adaptation, in particular how differences in environment influence evolutionary convergence and divergence. During my PhD I will study the processes that drive geographic patterns of introgression in wall lizards, and the consequences this introgression has for the evolution of sexual dimorphism. To this end I will combine field studies, laboratory experiments and genomic analyses across multiple regions of secondary contact.

maravillas.ruiz_minano@biol.lu.se

Maravillas Ruiz Miñano

 

RESEARCH SUPPORT


As the lab manager of the group my tasks vary from general administration to assistance in all the research related things, and also to research itself. In my PhD I studied genetic diversity and phylogeography of boreal and arctic marine fauna. I investigated genetic relationships (vicariance, dispersal, cryptic diversity, secondary contacts and introgression) of North Pacific and Atlantic animals in the timescale from Pliocene to Holocene. While my background is in phylogeography, I am particularly fascinated by the adaptation of organisms to new environments, including the ecological drivers and evolutionary mechanisms behind it.

Publication list     LU website    hanna.laakkonen@biol.lu.se

Hanna Laakkonen

hanna

 

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ALUMNI


Konstantinos Plavos, Master’s student Lund 2017

Dr Antonio Cordero, postdoc Lund 2015-2017

Dr Hannah MacGregor, PhD student Tasmania 2014-2017

Bea Anderson, Master’s student Lund 2016-2017

Dr Sozos Michaelides, DPhil student Oxford 2012-2015; postdoc Lund 2016

Dr Elmar Tobi, postdoc Oxford 2015-2016

Dr Sinead English, postdoc Oxford 2012-2015

Dr Geoffrey M While, postdoc Oxford 2008-2010 & 2011-2013

Dr Ursula Paredes, postdoc Oxford 2011-2013

Robert Heathcote, DPhil student Oxford 2009-2013