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?
MICROPOP IN THE NEWS
CBC Radio: Quirks and Quarks
The Hindi: Yeast Evolves to Multicellular Variety in 60 Days in the Lab by R. Prasad
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