The Ecology and Evolution of Social Aggregations: Case Study Dictyostelium Discoideum

Date Thursday May 05, 2016 at 4:00 PM
Location 13-105 Center for the Health Sciences (CHS)
Speaker Corina Tarnita, Ph.D., Princeton University
Sponsoring Dept UCLA Biomathematics
Abstract ABSTRACT: Cooperation, in which individuals provide benefits to others at a cost to themselves, has been studied extensively, and mechanisms have been proposed for its persistence in the face of free-riders. Often however, especially in microbes, these studies focus on one fitness component, with little information about or attention to the ecological context, which can lead to paradoxical findings. I will discuss such an example in the slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum whose life cycle includes both a single cellular and a multicellular stage, and I will propose a broader ecological framework in which multiple life history tradeoffs arise collectively in response to characteristics of the environment. I will argue that this multidimensionality can resolve existing inconsistencies regarding the social behavior and I will conclude that the complexities of social behavior in general and multicellularity in particular can only be understood in the appropriate ecological and life history context
Flyer Corina_Tarnita_20160505_updated.pdf