Brian Connelly

Brian ConnellyI am an NSF postdoctoral research fellow working with mentors Ben Kerr and Michael Doebeli at the University of Washington and the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. My research focuses on the evolution of cooperative behaviors. Cooperation is everywhere in nature, from microbial communities, to ant colonies, to primate societies, and even to the trillions of cells (from hundreds of species!) cooperating within the human body. Despite this prevalence, the evolutionary origins of cooperation are often difficult to explain. How can cooperators that pay a cost to help others avoid being exploited by those that don’t? I combine computational, mathematical, and microbial systems to understand how physical and social environments affect cooperation, and how cooperators can alter their behaviors to survive as conditions change.