Teaching Experience


I teach by emphasizing ideas and interpretation



I aim to help students develop their individual talents for evaluating evolutionary logic and data

Sociobiology


2011​

2010
2009

Introduces the evolution of social behavior, especially where conflicts of interest shape evolutionary change.

The goal is to learn selection thinking.
To approach biological questions with the conceptual tools of an evolutionary biologist.​

School of fish illustration

Evolution


2011

​Introduces the fundamental mechanisms, processes, and outcomes of evolution.

The goal is to learn evolutionary reasoning.
To critically evaluate the historical and functional evidence supporting modern evolutionary theory.
School of fish illustration


Coursework



Sociobiology 409

University of Washington

Introduces the evolution of social behavior, especially where conflicts of interest shape evolutionary change.

The goal is to learn selection thinking.
To approach biological questions with the conceptual tools of an evolutionary biologist.

Thanks to Lisa Hayward, Sam Wasser, and especially Sievert Rohwer for help developing the content of this course.



Lectures (click for audio)

01
Behavior and Evolutionary Theory
The current and historical importance of behavioral phenotypes in evolutionary theory.
Behavior as an approachable metaphor for understanding phenotypic evolution.​
02
Natural Selection and Adaptation
Requirements of evolution, and causes of evolutionary change.
Components of phenotypic variation and the importance of additive genetic variation
03
Genes and Behavior
Connecting genotype, phenotype, and fitness. Neutral models and optimally models.
Frequency dependent selection using the class as a model population.​
04
Levels and Limits of Selection
Selection thinking problems. What are the limits of selection? Does selection commonly act on groups? What kinds of errors are made when thinking about evolution by natural selection?
05
​Trait Group Selection and Virulence
Trait group selection logic, the evolution of pathogen virulence in response to variation in transmission rate between hosts. Effects of transmission fidelity and vector on pathogen virulence.
06
Kin Selection - Ideas
Types of social interactions: mutualism, parasitism, altruism, and spite. Cost and benefits to actor and recipient. Hamilton's rule and inclusive fitness. Individual selection. Calculating relatedness.​
07
Kin Selection - Implications
Mechanisms of recognizing and directing benefits toward kin: mechanistic vs probabilistic. Eusociality: relatedness in haplodiploid organisms and other contributing ecological factors
08
Cooperation and Reciprocity - Ideas​
Reproductive helping and the evolution of cooperation between non-relatives.
The mathematical relationship between theories of kin selection and reciprocal altruism.
09
Cooperation and Reciprocity - Implications
Influences on the probability of reciprocation. Non zero-sum interactions. Repeated indivdual interactions. Associate quality. Mechanism of detecting cheaters. ​
10
Parent-Offspring Conflict - Ideas
Local competition and implications of kin selection for competition among relatives. Asymmetries in relatedness and parent-offspring conflict over investment.
11

Parent-Offspring Conflict - Implications
Maternal fetal conflict, ultimate reasons, proximate mechanisms. Genetic imprinting and psychosocial disorders as a byproduct of parent-offspring conflict.
12
Evolutionary Games - Ideas
Evolutionary stable strategies. Frequency dependence revisited. Differences between Prisoner’s Dilemma and Snowdrift (Chicken) games.
13
Evolutionary Games - Implications
Are humans rational? Playing evolutionary games using the class as a model population. Prisoner’s dilemma with and without payback, ultimatum and dictator.​
14
​Evolution of Sex
Evolution of anisogamy and evolutionary stable strategies. Two-fold cost of sexual versus asexual reproduction. Individual costs and benefits of sex: Clonal competition, Muller’s ratchet, Red Queen.
15
​Sex-Ratio Evolution
Frequency dependent selection and the evolution of sex ratio as a case study in individual selection. Fisher’s model. Investigation of extreme sex ratios by Hamilton and sex-ratio control by Trivers.
16
​Evolutionary Conflicts
Genetic constraints on adaptive phenotypic evolution as viewed from the perspective of a selfish allele. The evolution of genetic architectures in response to evolutionary conflict.
17
​Sexual Selection
Similarities and differences between natural and sexual selection. Components of fitness. Variance in reproductive success, sexual dimorphism and sexual conflict over parental investment.
18
Mating Systems and Parental Care
Mating systems: promiscuous, monogamous, polyandrous and polygynous. Male parental care and threshold of female choice of polygyny versus monogamy.​
19
Mate Choice​
Variance in male reproductive success and female choice for good, compatible, or sexy alleles. The handicap principle and limits on the exaggeration of male traits.
20
Alternative Mating Strategies
Male-male competition, female choice and the evolution of alternative male strategies. Condition dependent and frequency dependent alternative mating strategies.
21
​Communication and Self Deception
Types of communication: honest, deceptive, eavesdropping, ignoring. Deception, lie detection, and the evolution of self-deception.
22
Human Mating Systems​
Interpretation of an episode of the NPR radio program This American Life which examines the mating system of pimps and prostitutes in California in the 1970’s.
23
Molecular Sociobiology​
Synthesis of course concepts. Using genetics to evaluate adaptive hypotheses.


​Evolution 446

Southern Oregon University

Introduces the fundamental mechanisms, processes, and outcomes of evolution.

The goal is to learn evolutionary reasoning.
To critically evaluate the historical and functional evidence supporting modern evolutionary theory.

Thanks to Michael Parker, Karen Stone, and the students at Southern Oregon University for help developing this course.



Lectures (click for audio)

01
Class Opinions and Questions about Evolution​
​02
​Mechanisms | Mutation, Selection and Drift
​03
​Mechanisms | Estimating Heritability 04
​04
​History | Thinking in Evolutionary Time, Tree Thinking
05​History | Inferring Phylogeny
​06
​Genotype-Phenotype | Top down - QTL and Positional Cloning
​07
Genotype-Phenotype | Bottom up - Candidate Genes, Functional Analysis​
08Genotype-Fitness | Neutral Models of Evolution
09
Genotype-Fitness | Molecular Evolution​
10
Phenotype-Fitness | Game Theory: Optimality Models of Evolution​
11
​Phenotype Fitness | Evolution of Sex and Sex Ratio
12
Cooperation | Kin Selection and Altruism​
13
Cooperation | Reciprocity​
14
​Conflict | Parent-Offspring Conflict
15
Conflict | Sexual Conflict and Arms Races​
16
Sexual Selection | Female Choice​
17
Sexual Selection | Alternative Male Strategies​
​18
Sexual Selection | Human Mating Systems​
​19
​Speciation | Species Concepts and Speciation Mechanisms
20
Speciation | Processes and Genes, Pre and Post-Zygotic Isolation​
21
Adaptation | Genetics of Phenotypic Adaptation​
22
Class Opinions and Questions about Evolution​