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I understood

What drives biodiversity?

01 Jul 2022 - Jochen Wolf, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU München) | 10h00 | Hybrid seminar
What drives biodiversity?

Biodiversity describes organismal variation in all its facets: from variation between cells of an individual, to variation within a family, all the way to the beautiful diversity of the millions of lifeforms inhabiting our planet. In the 21st century we are witnessing the rapid loss of this diversity, caused by all of us - the sixth great mass extinction in Earth's history. But how did the diversity of life come about in the first place? What is a species? What mysterious force is constantly generating something new? How fast and by which means can organisms adapt to changing environments? What role does migration play in these respects? After a short historical introduction, I will touch upon these questions showing representative examples from our research. We’ll make an excursion to the hybrid zone between European carrion and hooded crow where we find ‘speciation’ restricted to a near-negligible portion of the genome. We’ll monitor adaptive divergence ‘live’ in an evolve and re-sequence experiment and have a look at who painted the cuckoos’ eggs. In brief, we’ll spend some time together thinking about the evolutionary processes of life that have shaped, and continue doing so, the diversity around us and within ourselves. And we may ask, how this fundamental research may help us to conserve of what is left.
Jochen Wolf is chair of the Evolutionary Biology Department at LMU Munich. Having graduated in plant physiology in Freiburg, he obtained a PhD in animal behavior at Bielefeld University, where he studied the underpinnings of social organization in Galápagos sea lions. Inspired by post-doctoral research in Cologne and Uppsala he zeroed in on evolutionary biology as a scientific playfield. Currently, his lab studies different aspects of biodiversity using a combination of field, lab and computational methodology. Main research themes include adaptation, speciation and genome evolution more broadly.

[Host: Miguel Carneiro, Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics - EVOLGEN]

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