Microbial Population Biology

We study Ecology, Evolution and Behavior using microbial populations. Microbes are ideal experimental model systems. They are fantastically experimentally tractable. They have transformative effects in nature. They are essential symbionts and agents of disease.

Micropop is a collaborative group of researchers mostly at the University of Minnesota. We use populations of microbes (yeast, bacteria and viruses) to answer fundamental questions in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, and intersections of those fields. These include:

  • How does biological complexity, such as multicellularity, evolve?
  • Why does cooperation evolve, when individuals can cheat?
  • What is the basis for molecular evolution of complex traits?
  • Can studying aging (and cancer) in microbes lead to useful insights?
  • What role does studying the history and philosophy of science play in guiding research?
  • Is spatial structure important in the evolution of cooperation and complexity? 


Ecological Perspectives on Synthetic Biology: Insights from Microbial Population Biology

Origins of Multicellular Evolvability in Snowflake Yeast

Predicting the spatio-temporal dynamics of microbial community metabolism

Geometry Shapes Evolution of Early Multicellularity

Applying Evolutionary Biology to Address Global Challenges

Metabolic Resource Allocation Determines Ecosystem Interactions

Inclusive Fitness in Agriculture

Evolution of a Transition State

Epistasis and Allele Specificity in Long-term E. coli Populations

Drowning out the Protection Racket: Partner Manipulation

Experimental Evolution of Multicellular Complexity

Combining Engineering and Evolution to Create Novel Mutualisms

Increasing Cooperation is Key to Progress in Agriculture

Experimental Evolution of a Multicellular Life Cycle

Tempo and Mode of Coexistence

Adaptation and Divergence during Experimental Evolution of Multicellularity

Spurious Correlations between Legume and Rhizobial Fitness

Flux Balance Analysis Predictions of Evolution of Central Metabolism

Disentangling direct and indirect fitness effects

Tempo and Mode of Multicellular Adaptation

Microbes Modeling Ontogeny

Lost in the Map

Antagonistic Interactions in a Local Community

Understanding Microbial Diversity Metrics from Metagenomes

Pleiotropic Consequences in Development

Mesocosm Responses to Stress

Experimental Evolution of Multicellularity

Darwinian Agriculture: How Understanding Evolution can Improve Agriculture

Measuring the Fitness of Symbiotic Rhizobia

Experimental Evolution of Ultraviolet Radiation Resistance in Escherichia coli

Induced Fit and Catalytic Mechanism of Isocitrate Dehydrogenase

Life Histories of Symbiotic rhizobia and mycorrhizal fungi

Failure to Fix Nitrogen by Non-Reproductive symbiotic rhizobia triggers host sanctions 

Alternative Actions for Antibiotics


CBC Radio: Quirks and Quarks

The Hindi: Yeast Evolves to Multicellular Variety in 60 Days in the Lab by R. Prasad

The Star Tribune: U's yeast: Revolutionary evolution by Jenna Ross

The State Column: Scientists create multicellular life using gravity and pressure

Ars Technica: Researchers evolve a multicellular yeast in the lab in 2 months by John Timmer

ScienceDaily: Biologists Replicate Key Evolutionary Step 

New York Times: Yeast Experiment Hints at a Faster Evolution from Single Cells by Carl Zimmer

Nature News: Yeast suggest speedy start for multicellular life by Ed Yong

The Scientist: Evolving Multicellularity by Jef Akst 

Scientific American: Test Tube Yeast Evolve Multicellularity by Sarah Fecht

Wired: Multicellular Life Evolves in Laboratory by Brandon Keim

Wired UK: Selfless yeast sheds light on origins of multicellular life by Duncan Geere

Not Exactly Rocket Science: How I became we, which became I again by Ed Yong

Scientific American Blogs: Evolution: The Rise of Complexity by Christie Wilcox 

Digital Journal: Yeast experiment suggests rapid start for multicellular life by Kev Hedges

The Daily Galaxy: Evolution from Single to Multi-Cellularity

© micropop 2012