Ecology and Evolution Series: Our Origins

Ecology evolution series - winter 2021 our origins banner

Image: Fragmented cranium and mandible of Australopithecus africanus (Sts 52), by Luca Fiorenza

Join us to explore our origins while we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Charles Darwin's book The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.

With leading researchers from around the globe, we have a fascinating collection of talks presenting the latest developments and discoveries on various aspects of human evolution. 

These free, online seminars are hosted by a handful of researchers who donate their time on behalf of the University of Adelaide, for our environmental science and evolutionary biology community around the world. We hope you can join us!

Seminar series homepage

Friday June 4

*Note different time slot: 11:30am to 1:00pm ACDT

Distinguished Professor Sergey Gavrilets

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; Department of Mathematics; and Director, Center for the Dynamics of Social Complexity (DySoC) - University of Tennessee

Distinguished Professor Sergey Gavrilets

"Modern theories of human origins and Darwin's Descent of Man"

Sergey is a leading researcher in theoretical and computational evolutionary biology with extensive international collaborations. He uses mathematical models and agent-based simulations to study complex evolutionary processes in biological and social systems. His recent work focuses on human origins, social evolution, social complexity, collective action, and cliodynamics - the emerging transdisciplinary science of quantitative history. He is a recipient of a 2008 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Sergey's profile


Associate Professor Laura S. Weyrich

Associate Professor Laura S. Weyrich

Department of Anthropology - Pennsylvania State University

"The evolution of our microbes and what this means for health, happiness, and the future"

Laura uses calcified dental plaque to reconstruct ancient human oral microbiomes. Her team was the first to reconstruct the microbiome of Neanderthals. She is now reconstructing the evolutionary history of the human oral microbiome on six continents, obtaining insight into our ancestors' lifestyles.

Laura's profile


Professor Tanya Smith

Professor Tanya Smith

Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution; and Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research - Griffith University

"Tales teeth tell: Wintertime stress, nursing, and lead exposure in Neanderthal children"

Tanya works primarily on tooth microstructure. Her research has led to a major revision in the understanding of understand dental development in chimpanzees, and has demonstrated that living and fossil Homo sapiens have a prolonged period of dental development in comparison to Neanderthals and earlier hominins.

Tanya's profile


Friday July 2

Associate Professor Luca Fiorenza

Associate Professor Luca Fiorenza

Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute; Department of Anatomy & Developmental Biology - Monash University

"The impact of seasonal changes on growth and development in Australopithecus africanus"

Luca's research focuses on functional morphology of the masticatory apparatus in human and non-human primates, and on the importance of the role of diet in human evolution. He has been listed among the Australia's Top Researchers by The Australian's Research 2020 Magazine as Leader in the field of Anthropology.

Luca's profile


Associate Professor Mehmet Somel

Associate Professor Mehmet Somel 

Department of Biological Sciences - Middle East Technical University

"Neolithic societies in the light of ancient genomes"

Mehmet is a computational biologist, with main research interests on human evolution and aging. He uses comparative transcriptome, genome, population genetics and ancient DNA analyses. His recent research is concentrated on archaeogenomics of humans and domestic animals and population genomics. 

Mehmet's profile


Dr João C. Teixeira

Dr João C. Teixeira

DECRA Fellow, Evolution of Cultural Diversity Initiative; School of Culture, History and Language - Australian National University

“Modern human encounters with Denisovans in Island Southeast Asia”

João's research combines population genetics, ancient DNA, bioinformatics, statistics and anthropology to study the origin and evolution of the human species. He currently focuses on Pleistocene human evolution, human population adaptation to environmental change and historical human migrations in Europe and the Americas.

João's profile


Friday August 6

Irene Gallego Romero

Dr Irene Gallego Romero

Melbourne Integrative Genomics - University of Melbourne

"What have the Denisovans ever done for us, anyhow?"

Irene studies the contributions of gene regulatory change to human and primate evolution. Her recent research has focused on the evolutionary challenges of peopling Island Southeast Asia, with particular focus on the population genomics of the Indonesian archipelago.

Irene's profile


Erol Akcay

Associate Professor Erol Akcay

Department of Biology - University of Pennsylvania

"Coevolution of social networks, cooperation, and cumulative culture"

Erol is a theoretical biologist interested in the evolution of complex biological and social organisation. He works on how individuals with conflicting interests evolve to cooperate with each other, in contexts varying from plant-microbe mutualisms to animal and human behavior.

Erol's profile


Associate Professor Bastien Llamas

Associate Professor Bastien Llamas

School of Biological Sciences - University of Adelaide

"Paleogenomics: a genomic view of the past to understand the present"

Bastien uses ancient DNA to build detailed genetic time series across millennia to trace human expansion around the world. He is an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Adelaide as well as a Visiting Fellow at ANU’s National Centre for Indigenous Genomics.

Bastien's profile


Tagged in Biological Sciences, Ecology and evolutionary biology, For current students, For researchers, Research seminar, Ecology and Evolution Series, Online event