Cooperation & Social Evolution
Cooperation occurs at all level of biological organisation. Genes cooperate to form genomes, bacteria cells cooperate to overcome their hosts, and animals form cooperative societies. The problem is that cooperation is open to exploitation by non-cooperative cheats. This project will investigate the selective forces that allow natural selection to favour cooperation. In extreme cases, cooperation can lead to a major evolutionary transition to a new level of individual (superorganism). The project can be taken in a number of possible directions: mathematical theory, microbiological experiments or across species comparative studies. Each of these would lead to different second supervisors.
Funding is competitive, via either University/Departmental Studentships or Doctoral Training Centres (http://www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/graduates/applying).
Fisher, R.M., Cornwallis, C.K., & West, S.A. (2013) Group formation, relatedness and the evolution of multicellularity. Current Biology 23, 1120-1125.
West, S.A., Griffin, A.S. & Gardner, A. (2007) Evolutionary explanations for cooperation. Current Biology, 17, R661-R672.
How good is research at University of Oxford in Biological Sciences?
FTE Category A staff submitted: 223.80
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