Posts Tagged 'evolution' 4

Analyzing Microbial Growth with R

Analyzing Microbial Growth with R

April 9, 2014

In experimental evolution research, few things are more important than growth. Both the rate of growth and the resulting yield can provide direct insights into a strain or species’ fitness. Whether one strain with a trait of interest can outgrow (and outcompete) another that possesses a variation of that trait often depends primarily on the fitnesses of the two strains.

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When Cooperating Means Just Saying No

When Cooperating Means Just Saying No

June 20, 2013

Evolutionary biologists often talk like economists, particularly when the topic is cooperation. Instead of dollars, euros, or pounds, the universal currency in evolution is fitness. A species that cooperates cannot survive when competing against a non-cooperative opponent unless the fitness benefits provided by cooperation, such as those resulting from greater access to resources, outweigh the costs. To make matters more complicated, cooperative benefits often take the form of "public goods," which benefit all nearby individuals, whether cooperator or not. This sets the stage for the emergence of "cheaters", which exploit the cooperation of others without contributing themselves. Despite cooperation seeming at odds with the notion of "survival of the fittest", we now have a good understanding of how cooperation can persist in the face of cheaters based on the tremendous work of Fischer, Haldane, Hamilton, Price, and those who have since followed. When the costs and benefits are favorable, and when close relatives are more likely to receive those benefits, cooperation can survive and even thrive.

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SEEDS Paper Published at EvoSoft Workshop

SEEDS Paper Published at EvoSoft Workshop

July 31, 2012

I recently went to Philadelphia for GECCO 2012, where I presented my paper The SEEDS Platform for Evolutionary and Ecological Simulations at the EvoSoft workshop. It was great to talk with people about modern Evolutionary Computation Software Systems, especially the DEAP team, who share a lot of my ideas.

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The Role of Environment in the Evolution of Cooperation

April 25, 2011

Cooperation is something that most people take for granted. It’s woven into just about every part of our lives. Our societies have even developed a wide variety of measures to make sure we’re cooperating, such as punishing those that don’t. This level of cooperation isn’t reserved to humans. Cooperation plays a vital role in nearly all forms of life, from our primate cousins to ants and termites, and all the way down to simple microorganisms such as bacteria. There’s even an astounding amount of cooperation going on within our bodies. Amazingly, of the ten trillion or so cells in the human body, over 90% of those are bacterial cells made up of thousands of different species.

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