Projects in Social Evolution

Niveau:Bachelor, Outside course scope

All organisms interact with members of their own species and with other species, meaning that all life is essentially social. Social interactions can be either beneficial (cooperation, mutualism) or harmful (parasitism; cheating on social partners). The theory behind social evolution is very well established, so that we can test hypotheses and predict outcomes of interactions in a range of different organisms.

Specializing in this area will provide you with a general understanding of biological adaptation by natural selection, which gives you qualifications that you can apply in later projects, and in future classes and jobs. The field of social evolution also includes evolutionary medicine, which asks why natural selection has not removed human vulnerability to infectious and degenerative diseases.

Practical research focuses on ants and termites and their associated mutualistic and parasitic symbionts. Projects will usually combine conceptual training with hands-on experience with lab experiments, field biology and (for evolutionary medicine) analysis of big public health data.

Keywords:natural selection, cooperation, conflicts
Vejleder(e): Jacobus Boomsma, David Nash, Michael Poulsen and/or Jonathan Z. Shik