Travisano, Michael

Associate Professor, University of Minnesota


Dept. of Ecology, Evolution & BehaviorBioTechnology Institute

Ph.D. Michigan State University, 1993

Phone: 612-626-6201

UMN WebpageBTI Webpage

Google Scholar Citations

Research Interests

Multicellularity, Evolution of Aging, Adaptive Radiation, Historical Contingency, Cooperation and Cheating, Experimental Evolution and Experimental Macroevolution, EvoDevo, Speciation

My long-term research goals are in understanding the causes of biological diversity and complexity. While natural selection is the ultimate cause for both, that level of explanation is not sufficient to understand how the myriad forms of life have come to exist. My research program is a series of studies of investigating increasingly more complicated biological systems. By understanding simple systems, we work toward understanding the evolution of  complexity . Our first projects were with a single species of free-living bacteria, one of the simplest living systems that have biological complexity. Since those first experiments, our work has branched out to include simple eukaryotes, predator-prey interactions, and microbial communities.

Selected Publications

Ratcliff WC, Denison RF, Borrello M, Travisano M. 2012. Experimental evolution of multicellularity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA.

Goldman RP, Travisano M. 2011. Experimental evolution of ultraviolet radiation resistance in Escherichia coli. Evolution 65:3486-3498.

Saxer G, Doebeli M, Travisano M. 2010. The repeatability of adaptive radiation during long-term experimental evolution of Escherichia coli in a multiple nutrient environment. PLoS ONE 5(12):e14184.

Cox J, Shubert AM, Travisano M, Putoni C. 2010. Adaptive evolution and inherent tolerance to extreme thermal environments. BMC Evol Bio 10:75.

Ratcliff WC, Hawthorne P, Travisano M, Denison RF. 2009. When stress predicts a shrinking gene pool, trading early reproduction for longevity can increase fitness, even with lower fecundity. PLoS ONE 4(6):e6055.

Saxer G, Doebeli M, Travisano M. 2009. Spatial strcture leads to ecological breakdown and loss of diversity. Proc Biol Sci 276:2065-2070.

Quance G, Travisano M. 2009. Effects of temperature on the fitness cost of resistance to bacteriophage T4 in Escherchia coli. Evolution 63:1406-1416.

Waterland RA, Travisano M, Tahiliani KG, Rached MT, Mirza S. 2008. Methyl donor supplementation prevents transgenerational amplification of obesity. J Obesity 32:1373-1379.

McBride R, Greig D, Travisano M. 2008. Fungal viral mutualism moderated by ploidy. Evolution 62:2372-2379. 

Greig D, Travisano M. 2008. Density-dependent effects on allelopathic interactions in yeast. Evolution 62:521-527.

Greig D, Travisano M. 2004. The Prisoner's Dilemma and polymorphism in yeast SUC genes. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 271 Suppl 3:S25-6.

Travisano M, Velicer GJ. 2004. Strategies of microbial cheater control. Trends Microbiol. 12:72-8.

Greig D, Louis EJ, Borts RH, Travisano M. 2002. Hybrid speciation in experimental populations of yeast. Science 298:1773-5.

Rainey PB, Travisano M. 1998. Adaptive radiation in a heterogeneous environment. Nature 394:69-72.

Travisano M, Mongold JA, Bennett AF, Lenski RE. 1995. Experimental tests of the roles of adaptation, chance, and history in evolution. Science 267:87-90.

Lenski RE, Travisano M. 1994. Dynamics of adaptation and diversification: a 10,000-generation experiment with bacterial populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 91:6808-14.

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