Bringing together evolution and ecology (completed)

Bringing together evolution and ecology through the Red Queen Perspective

About the project

It has long been recognized that both biotic and abiotic factors play an essential role in driving the evolutionary dynamics of a multispecies community. While acknowledging the importance of abiotic forces, Van Valen (1973) suggested in his 'Red Queen Hypothesis' that biotic effects alone suffice to force species in a continued evolutionary race. Though long-standing, the validity of his hypothesis remains unclear. Adopting a Red Queen Perspective, the proposed project aims at evaluating Van Valen's hypothesis, and furthermore at increasing our understanding of the relative importance of abiotic and biotic forces on the evolutionary process as well as of their interplay. We will combine theory and experiment to address these questions. Mathematical models will be developed that extend the theory of evolution within multispecies communities and that incorporate population dynamics, speciation and extinction. Multispecies microbial systems will be set up that allow us to track long-term ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Knowledge gained in the empirical part of the project will influence the development of the theoretical work, and vice versa.


This project funded by The Research Council of Norway.


Institute for Advanced Study, Massey University (New Zealand)

Centre for Geobiology, University of Bergen

Department of Statistics & Actuarial Science, University of Iowa (United States)

Department of Mathematics, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)


Start: 01.05.2012. End: 30.09.2016.

Tags: Global, USA
Published Sep. 10, 2012 3:38 PM - Last modified Oct. 25, 2019 10:25 AM


Detailed list of participants