Colonies


    Bryozoan basics
    November 7, 2016
    Bryozoans are a phylum of colonial animals. They first appear in the fossil record during the early Ordovician (~480 million years ago.) Since that time, bryozoans have been a major component of the fossil record and of marine communities. Their colonies are modular, with individual animals, called zooids, forming the...
    Evolutionary determinants of morphological polymorphism in colonial animals
    April 20, 2016
    Simpson, C., Jackson, J. B. C., Herrera-Cubilla, A. 2017. Evolutionary determinants of morphological polymorphism in colonial animals. American Naturalist. 190(1): 17-28. link Preprint version available at bioRxiv doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/046409 pdf Colonial animals commonly exhibit morphologically polymorphic modular units that are phenotypically distinct and specialize in specific functional tasks. But how...
    The evolutionary history of division of labour
    April 10, 2015
    Simpson, C. 2012. The evolutionary history of division of labour. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279:116–121. pdf Functional specialization, or division of labour (DOL), of parts within organisms and colonies is common in most multi-cellular, colonial and social organisms, but it is far from ubiquitous. Several mechanisms...
    Evolutionary diversification of reef corals--a comparison of the molecular and fossil records
    April 7, 2015
    Simpson, C., Kiessling, W., Mewis, H., Baron-Szabo, R. C. & Müller, J. 2011. Evolutionary diversification of reef corals: a comparison of the molecular and fossil records. Evolution. 65(11) 3274–3284. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01365.x pdf Understanding historical patterns of diversity dynamics is of paramount importance for many evolutionary questions. The fossil record has...
    The Miscellaneous Transitions in Evolution
    April 5, 2015
    McShea, D. W. & Simpson, C. 2011. The Miscellaneous Transitions in Evolution. In, The Major Transitions Revisited, Brett Calcott & Kim Sterelny eds. MIT Press. pdf In Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth, his sardonic alter ego Puddin’head Wilson reflects that if the Eiffel Tower represented the history of the...
    How many levels are there?
    April 5, 2015
    Simpson, C. 2011. How many levels are there? How insights from evolutionary transitions in individuality help measure the hierarchical complexity of life. In, The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited, Brett Calcott & Kim Sterelny eds. MIT Press. pdf How the vast range of spatial and temporal scales on which biological...
    On the potential for ocean acidification to be a general cause of ancient reef crises
    April 4, 2015
    Kiessling, W. & Simpson, C. 2011 On the potential for ocean acidification to be a general cause of ancient reef crises. Global Change Biology. 17(1): 56 - 67. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02204.x pdf Anthropogenic rise in the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere leads to global warming and acidification of the oceans....
    Reefs as Cradles of Evolution and Sources of Biodiversity in the Phanerozoic
    April 3, 2015
    Kiessling, W., Simpson, C. & Foote, M. 2010 Reefs as Cradles of Evolution and Sources of Biodiversity in the Phanerozoic. Science 327(5962): 196-198. pdf Large-scale biodiversity gradients among environments and habitats are usually attributed to a complex array of ecological and evolutionary factors. We tested the evolutionary component of such...
    How similar are branching networks in nature?
    April 1, 2015
    Sánchez, J. A., Lasker, H. R., Zeng, W., Coluci, V. & Simpson, C. 2003 How similar are branching networks in nature? A view from the ocean: Caribbean gorgonian corals. Journal of Theoretical Biology 222, 135-138. pdf Tree-like branching networks are omnipresent in nature (eg Turcotte et al., 1998). Despite the...
    Expansion and the hierarchical structure of levels of selection
    September 21, 2013
    Evolutionary success comes to the selfish—or so most biologists are taught. Those organisms that reproduce most will of course be better represented in future generations. Current theory has had great success using this fact to understand much of evolution, but it hits a wall when it comes to understanding how...