Phenotypic variation in ecological setting

Organisms are niche constructors: they impact the environment and modify selective pressures that direct their own evolution as well as that of their non-conspecific fellows in ecological systems at various scales. The theoretical acknowledgement of niche construction has inspired many reflections about the active role of organisms in evolution, often proclaiming a revolutionary theoretical change. […]

Understanding variation beyond the Modern Synthesis

In 2013 Emanuele Serrelli organized the session “Understanding variation beyond the Modern Synthesis” at the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology Sunday, 7-11 July, Montpellier, France. The session, supported by AppEEL, includes Pablo Razeto-Barry and Davide Vecchi (Instituto de Filosofía y Ciencias de la Complejidad, Santiago, Chile) and Nathalie Gontier […]

How macro-evolutionary studies call for an extended synthesis

Emanuele Serrelli co-organizes with Nathalie Gontier and moderates the session “How macro-evolutionary studies call for an extended synthesis” at the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, 14-18 February. The session aims to provide an overall evaluation of the scientific importance of macroevolutionary studies, accessible to a large scientific community. It includes a series of international […]

Evolutionary explanation and bucket thinking

The hierarchical interplay between ecology and genealogy is a fundamental ingredient for the most compelling current explanations in evolutionary biology. Yet philosophy of biology has hardly welcomed a classic fundamental intuition by palaeontologist Niles Eldredge, i.e. the non-coincidence and interrelation between ecology and genealogy, and their interaction in a Sloshing Bucket fashion. Hierarchy Theory and […]

Biological Evolution on Display

Elisabetta Falchetti thanks me in her paper: Falchetti EM (2012). Biological Evolution on Display: an Approach to Evolutionary Issues Through a Museum. Evolution: Education and Outreach 5(1):104-122. DOI 10.1007/s12052-012-0396-z. “A special thanks to Emanuele Serrelli for his precious critical revision of the manuscript” (p. 121). Thanks to Elisabetta for her great work and for acknowledging me.

University of Sydney HPS Research Seminar Series

For 80 years now, a famous and influent picture have been around in evolutionary biology: it is the adaptive landscape, a hilly or rugged surface with peaks and valleys onto which combinations of traits are mapped, the elevation representing the fitness value of these combinations. As a communication and heuristic tool, the adaptive landscape well […]

The hierarchy theory view of speciation

Hierarchy theory (e.g. Salthe 1985, Eldredge 1986) provides a unifying approach for representing the multi-level structure of the organic world and an explanatory framework for the wide range of natural phenomena. Its birthdate can be located in the 1980s, when evolutionary biologists began exploring in detail the nature of hierarchical systems as an approach to […]

Evolution Day. Nature and culture

Is culture natural? Language and reading as an example A public conference and a conference for high-school students on biological and cultural evolution. In collaboration with City Museums of Como, Centro Filippo Buonarroti, and Pikaia webportal on evolution. Look for it in the Talks page (with additional links): 2012, Feb 9 (h.10.30 and 14.30) – […]

Voglia di Evoluzione Series

In academic year 2011-2012 Emanuele Serrelli is advisor and chair of the conference series “Voglia di evoluzione” organized by student representatives in the Department of Biology, University of Milan. The series aims to deepen some “hot” topics in contemporary evolutionary biology (EvoDevo, phenotypic plasticity, epigenetics) that are nonetheless rarely explained in normal biology curricula. Authoritative […]

Criticizing adaptive landscapes, ecology and genealogy

Disentangling ecological vs. genealogical dimensions is a core task of hierarchy theory in evolutionary biology. As Eldredge repeatedly epitomized, organisms carry out (only) two distinct kinds of activities: they survive, and they reproduce. At the organismal level, the organism stays the same whether we consider it ecologically or genealogically – yet, differences can occur in […]