Our research investigates how social evolution generates biodiversity.
Understanding how evolution works has arguably never before been more exciting nor more important.
It is exciting because there is disagreement among evolutionary biologists over which processes contribute more to evolutionary change, and thus the extent to which traditional evolutionary theory requires revision.
It is important because evolutionary biology can play a key role in addressing conservation problems. It can potentially predict which species will flexibly adapt in a changing world, for example, as well as how rapidly evolutionary change can arise and whether the loss of a single species can precipitate a collapse in local biodiversity.
Our novel approach to each of these problems is to investigate how social interactions within families generate biodiversity. Our experiments focus particularly on bird and insect species.