Theoretical Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - Topic Group

The topic group takes place every other Friday from 10:30 to 12:00 in room 1929, on the first floor of the Biophore. During our sessions, we discuss a theoretical question by either going through a paper or listening to someone talk about their own work (or a mixture of the two). Each session is hosted by a different member of the topic group. The host is free to choose the topic of the day, the only requirement being that it must be theory in ecology and evolutionary biology. Our schedule is given below along with guidelines on how to host a session. Discussed papers are uploaded on this page a week before the session, it is important to read them before coming.
Topic group

Each new session is announced by e-mail. To join our mailing list, please contact Thomas Lesaffre (thomas.lesaffre@unil.ch).

Next sessions

Ewan Flintham

Ewan Flintham

Session 08/12/2023
van Doorn and Weissing, 2006: Sexual conflict and the evolution of female preferences for indicators of male quality.

Guidelines for hosting a topic group session

Before the session

  • You are free to choose the topic of the day, as long as it fits the scope of our topic group (i.e. theory in ecology or evolutionary biology). You may decide to present some of your work, a published paper (which can be classical or recent), or a mixture of the two. However, after the session preceding yours at the latest, you must talk to Sara, Charles and/or Laurent about what you plan to present so that they validate it or suggest alternatives.

  • At least a week before your session, send a message to the organiser (thomas.lesaffre@unil.ch) briefly explaining your plan for the session (one or two sentences is enough) with the paper you wish to discuss attached, if any.

  • You are responsible for the session that was assigned to you. If you cannot host it, you need to e-mail the organiser well in advance to give time for someone to step in.

During the session

  • Start your presentation with a short introduction. Explain what you wish to accomplish by the end of the session, introduce the biological problem we are going to discuss, explain why it is interesting and how it fits in the literature.

  • Give a complete biological description of the model, which should include information on:

    1. the general assumptions: what is the demography of the population (e.g. constant or fluctuating size, class-structure, is the population well-mixed or structured)? What are the features by which individuals are characterised (e.g. are sexes combined or separate, what are the traits relevant to characterise them in the model)?
    2. the life cycle: what are the events occurring over the course of a timestep? Be thorough for each of them, and introduce relevant parameters and functions.
    3. the evolving trait(s) and their underlying genetic architecture (e.g. ploidy, number of loci are involved, mutation model...).
  • Outline the method that we will use to attack the model and explain what we are going to ask our model (e.g. what are we solving for?). Importantly, the method does not have to be the one presented in the paper. If you think the same results can be obtained with a more modern approach for example, go for it!

  • Explain the logic of the analysis and how the results are obtained without going into the details of the calculations unless you think it is important to do so. In any case, you should avoid doing long derivations on the board.

  • Use the screen to show plots, important equations etc… If you make slides, they have to be clear but they do not need to be pretty (no one cares!). A Mathematica notebook can do the trick.

Past sessions

Iris Prigent

Iris Prigent

Session 24/11/2023
Rousset and Roze, 2007: Constraints on the origin and maintenance of genetic kin recognition.
Ludovic Maisonneuve

Ludovic Maisonneuve

Session 10/11/2023
Abstract: Theoretical perspective on the coevolution of teaching and learning strategies.
Thomas Lesaffre

Thomas Lesaffre

Session 27/10/2023
Charlesworth and Charlesworth, 1978: Theories on the transition from hermaphroditism to dioecy.
Ehouarn Le Faou

Ehouarn Le Faou

Session 13/10/2023
Blanc et al., 2023: Cosegregation of recombinant chromatids maintains genome-wide heterozygosity in an asexual nematode.

Ehouarn's Master thesis

Cédric Perret

Cédric Perret

Session 29/09/2023
Bowles and Hammerstein, 2023: A biological employment model of reproductive inequality.
Arthur Weyna

Arthur Weyna

Session 22/06/2023 at 16:00 (exceptionally)
Kramer et al., 2021: Eusociality and the evolution of aging in superorganisms.
Cédric Perret

Cédric Perret

Session 09/06/2023
Akçay and Roughgarden, 2006: Negotiation of mutualism: rhizobia and legumes.
Vítor Sudbrack

Vítor Sudbrack

Session 26/05/2023
Charlesworth and Charlesworth, 1983: The population dynamics of transposable elements.
Laurent Lehmann

Laurent Lehmann

Session 12/05/2023
Lehmann and Alger, 2023: Where Hamilton meets Kant: evolution of preferences in assortative interactions with complete and incomplete information and plasticity.
Ehouarn Le Faou

Ehouarn Le Faou

Session 28/04/2023
Bergstrom and Pritchard, 1998: Germline bottlenecks and the evolutionary maintenance of mitochondrial genomes.
Massimo Amicone

Massimo Amicone

Session 14/04/2023
Orr and Unkcless, 2008: Population extinction and the genetics of adaptation.
Afra Salazar

Afra Salazar

Session 31/03/2023
Michod et al., 2006: Life-history evolution and the origin of multicellularity.
Mai Thu Nguyen

Mai Thu Nguyen

Session 17/03/2023
Charnov et al., 1976: Why be an hermaphrodite?.
Ludovic Maisonneuve

Ludovic Maisonneuve

Session 03/03/2023
Aoki and Feldman, 2013: Evolution of learning strategies in temporally and spatially variable environments: a review of theory.
Ewan Flintham

Ewan Flintham

Session 03/02/2023
Kidwell et al., 1976: Regions of stable equilibria for models of differential selection in the two sexes under random mating.
Iris Prigent

Iris Prigent

Session 09/12/2022
Débarre, Nuismer and Doebeli, 2014: Multidimensional (co)evolutionary stability.
Afra Salazar

Afra Salazar

Session 25/11/2022
Michod, 1997: Cooperation and conflict in the evolution of individuality: multilevel selection of the organism.
Thomas Lesaffre

Thomas Lesaffre

Session 11/11/2022
Gervais and Roze, 2017: Mutation rate evolution in partially selfing and partially asexual organisms.
Ehouarn Le Faou

Ehouarn Le Faou

Session 28/10/2022
Marie-Orleach, Brochmann and Glémin, 2022: Mating system and speciation I: accumulation of genetic incompatibilities in allopatry.
Vítor Sudbrack

Vítor Sudbrack

Session 14/10/2022
Zhao and Charlesworth, 2016: Resolving the conflit between associative overdominance and background selection.

Notes