Kiyoko Gotanda (University of Cambridge) - February 19th, 2020

"Adaptation in a changing world: human influences on evolution"


Evolutionary biology studies the origins of biodiversity, how it evolved and, importantly, how it is maintained. In today's world, patterns of selection (and therefore evolution) are being altered by humans, strongly influencing the generation and maintenance of biodiversity. Humans can alter evolution and adaptation through a variety of mechanisms. For example, the increase in urbanization (development of villages, towns, and cities) has a strong effect on ecological and evolutionary processes. Another example is the introduction of non-native predators, an impact known to be closely correlated with local extinction events. Here, I present examples of humans altering selective pressures, and what the consequences of this are.


Kiyoko Gotanda is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, and is a Clare Hall Research Fellow. Her research focuses on the intersection of evolution, ecology, and behaviour. Broadly, she seeks to understand how variation in selective pressures affects the origins and evolution of biological diversity. More specifically, she focuses on adaptation and how it is affected by spatial and temporal variation in selection. Understanding such processes is critical in contemporary times due to humans having an unprecedented influence on the environment.