Institute of Evolutionary Biology

At the Institute of Evolutionary Biology we study evolution in the broadest possible sense, from virtually every angle and using a great range of organisms and techniques.

A bee collecting pollen from a red flower.

Our research falls under three broad topics:

Evolutionary and Quantitative Genetics

We study fundamental and applied aspects of genetics, from theoretical population genetics to the genetics of complex traits.

Current research includes:

  • Viral evolution
  • Bacterial evolution
  • Methods of phylogenetic analysis
  • Molecular and genome evolution
  • Comparative genomics
  • The evolution of plant mating systems
  • The genetics of speciation
  • The analysis of quantitative trait variation
  • Population genetics

Evolutionary Ecology and Behaviour

We explore the evolutionary causes and consequences of ecological interactions and behaviour, using theoretical and empirical approaches.

Current research includes:

  • Host-parasite coevolution
  • Evolutionary ecology of parasites
  • Evolution of immunity and immune systems
  • Social evolution
  • Sexual selection and sexual conflict
  • Reproductive allocation and life-history evolution
  • Natural selection in the wild
  • The evolution of sex differences in cognition
  • Learning and memory in the wild
  • The evolutionary biology of infectious disease

Biodiversity and Ecology

We examine biodiversity and ecological complexity, from genomes to ecosystems. 

Current research includes:

  • Evolutionary developmental biology
  • Metagenomics
  • Phylogeography and ecosystem construction
  • Plant conservation genetics
  • Interactions between the physical and biotic environments
  • Speciation
  • The genomic diversity of neglected taxa

Our interdisciplinary research and teaching benefits from strong links with members of the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research (IIIR), the Centre for Infectious Diseases (CID), the Wellcome Trust Centre in Development for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, the Centre for Molecular Medicine, the Life Physics Group, the MRC Human Genetics Unit, the Roslin Institute, and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Many of us are joint members of IEBIIIRCID, and the Centre in Development.