Harcombe, Will

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
BioTechnology Institute

Ph.D. University of Texas - Austin


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Research Interests:

Experimental Evolutionary Ecology, Computational Systems Biology

How will the rate and parallelism of adaptation change over the course of community evolution?  To what extent is the sequence of adaptive steps taken by a species determined by the genotype of its partner?  Will mutualists co-evolve such that community properties change as isolates are swapped between different replicate communities? Under what circumstances does evolution increase community robustness to invasion and alter community assembly?

In addition to the species present in microbial communities, metagenomic sequencing is also providing insight into the genes they encode.  To take full advantage of this data it will be necessary to develop computational methods for predicting cellular physiology from genome sequence.  Furthermore, we must determine how the social interactions between bacteria convert genetic content into ecosystem function.  Finally, we would like to quantitatively predict how evolution influences the dynamics of these complex networks through time.

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