Posted by: Jeremy Fox | July 10, 2012

Evolution 2012: Monday highlights

Susan Bailey’s discovery of synonymous beneficial mutations continues to be the talk of the meeting, or at least that portion of the meeting that I hear about.

Another good day for conversations. Had a good chat with Carl Simpson, a paleontologist who’s using Price equation-type approaches to quantify species selection and major evolutionary transitions. It’s a rare treat to talk to someone about something highly technical, but who comes at it from a slightly different perspective than you. So you totally understand and appreciate each other (so don’t have to work hard to make yourself understood), and you aren’t arguing with each other, but yet you each have something new to say to the other. Got to catch up with some old friends, and was flattered by multiple people coming up to say how much they like the Oikos blog (or just to ask my opinion on stuff!)

Saw Peter and Rosemary Grant talk; I’d never seen them talk before, so that was cool. Peter began with a (better translation of) this bit of verse from Lucretius.

A good day for talks by my collaborators. Rees Kassen was very good on the genetics of adaptation in microbes, he included some meta-analytical-type results from his forthcoming book. And Dave Vasseur was very good on eco-evolutionary dynamics in a spatial context, looking at how dispersal affects spatial synchrony of population dynamics on the one hand, and local selection and local adaptation on the other.

Had dinner at the Manx with Nick Rowe, an economist here at Carleton in Ottawa and a blogger for Worthwhile Canadian Initiative. Really enjoyed chatting with Nick about everything from Darwin’s life and times to the contrasting cultures of ecology and economics to how blogging makes you a better teacher.

Last day tomorrow, I won’t be here the whole day. Just long enough to see my students’ talks in the morning. Don’t know if I’ll be able to do a wrap-up post, or whether I’ll just end up skipping straight to the big announcement…

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