Ecology and Evolution

Research topics

At the Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) we study evolution in the broadest possible sense, from virtually every angle and using a great range of organisms and techniques.

Our research falls under three broad topics:

Evolutionary and Quantitative Genetics

We study fundamental and applied aspects of genetics, from theoretical population genetics to the genetics of complex traits.

Current research includes:

  • Viral evolution
  • Bacterial evolution
  • Methods of phylogenetic analysis
  • Molecular and genome evolution
  • Comparative genomics
  • The evolution of plant mating systems
  • The genetics of speciation
  • The analysis of quantitative trait variation
  • Population genetics

Evolutionary Ecology and Behaviour

We explore the evolutionary causes and consequences of ecological interactions and behaviour, using theoretical and empirical approaches.

Current research includes:

  • Host-parasite coevolution
  • Evolutionary ecology of parasites
  • Evolution of immunity and immune systems
  • Social evolution
  • Sexual selection and sexual conflict
  • Reproductive allocation and life-history evolution
  • Natural selection in the wild
  • The evolution of sex differences in cognition
  • Learning and memory in the wild
  • The evolutionary biology of infectious disease

Biodiversity and Ecology

We examine biodiversity and ecological complexity, from genomes to ecosystems. Current research includes:

  • Evolutionary developmental biology
  • Metagenomics
  • Phylogeography and ecosystem construction
  • Plant conservation genetics
  • Interactions between the physical and biotic environments
  • Speciation
  • The genomic diversity of neglected taxa

Our interdisciplinary research and teaching benefits from strong links with members of:

  • the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research (IIIR),
  • the Centre for Infectious Diseases (CID),
  • the Wellcome Trust Centre in Development for Immunity,
  • Infection and Evolution,
  • the Centre for Molecular Medicine,
  • the Life Physics Group,
  • the MRC Human Genetics Unit,
  • the Roslin Institute, and
  • the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Many of us are joint members of IEB, IIIR, CID, and the Centre in Development.