21 February 2020 from 12:00 to 13:00

Lunch Meeting #31: The Evolution of Adaptive Responses to a Complex and Changing Environment

This Series: Complexity & Transitions

This academic year at the CCSS we are holding two series of lectures. Under our 'Complexity & Transitions' series, we host guest lectures from researchers from a variety of discplines whose research focuses on transitions within complex systems. Please see our upcoming Events for details on our other reading series.

**Note: Following the lecture, there will be a discussion with the speaker on the topics raised in his presentation within the context of the research group on “The Emergence of Control in Complex Adaptive Systems”. All interested parties are welcome to join the discussion from 13:00.

Speaker Overview

Franjo Weissing is a theoretical biologist specialising in the study of the evolution of dynamic biological systems. Franjo is Professor of Theoritical Biology at the University of Groningen and leads a research group there which focuses on evolving regulatory networks. His research centres on Cultural Evolution, Evolution and Self-Organization, Evolution of Cooperation, and Evolutionary Game Theory. To this end, his research studies the differences between cells, individuals, populations, and the structure and patterning of ecological communities. By a combined theoretical and empirical approach, he also investigates whether adaptive evolution is predictable and to what extent evolution is shaped by natural selection.


The evolution of adaptive responses to a complex and changing environment


In a time of global climate change, it is of considerable importance to predict the capacity of organisms to cope with this change and to adapt to changing conditions. Mathematical and computational models are indispensable tools for this. Yet, it is by no means clear whether, and to what extent, the course and outcome of ecological and evolutionary processes are predictable. By means of simple models I will illustrate that ecological and evolutionary dynamics are much more intricate than envisaged 50 years ago. Interestingly, empirical evidence is often in striking contrast to the predictions of well-established eco-evolutionary models. For example, many more species coexist in natural systems than predicted by theory, and evolution proceeds orders of magnitude faster than anticipated by standard models. By comparing different types of models, I will argue that these puzzles can be resolved by considering mechanistic models with sufficiently many degrees of freedom. I will show that such models have surprising and sometimes counter-intuitive properties shedding new light on the ability of organisms to adapt to environmental change.

Location: Center for Complex Systems Studies, room 4.16, Minnaert Building, Leuvenlaan 4, De Uithof, Utrecht

The lunch is FREE for all participants, but please register before Wednesday 19th February.



Start date and time
21 February 2020 12:00
End date and time
21 February 2020 13:00