User:Carl Boettiger/Notebook/Teaching/2009/10/21

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Evolutionary Branching and the Evolutionary Seesaw

I just gave a talk to the Evolution Discussion Group in the Chucklesworth suite about my work from the summer, largely combining my evolutionary seesaw analogy / demonstration with the heart of my stochastic mathematics research, delivered as a chalkboard talk in about 45 minutes. My semi-humorous intro was well received, introducing the controversy/not controversy of sympatric vs allopatric speciation, making fun of the European Adaptive Dynamics researchers who seem to ignore the weighty experimental and field-based evidence for allopatric speciation as theorists hiding in their castles (like IIASA). The sketch of the castle on the blackboard seems to have become the most memorable thing I’ve ever managed to put down in chalk. The seesaw was fun and well received as well, though a little small and hard to see. My biggest failure was not referring to the seesaw throughout my exercise in deriving all the mathematics for coexistence. I also had very poor spatial organization of my writing on the blackboard, and bad handwriting, which made the math even harder to follow. I think I lost the whole audience pretty quickly there. At least Richard McElreath picked up on the physics analogy I was making and seemed pleased to see the math, even though it wasn’t very clear. Very glad he came though. My attempt to come back from the math and summarize the takehome message also wasn’t very clear, and once again would have been better expressed in terms of the seesaw. Overall I think most got the idea that the stochasticity slowed the branching, though Begun was disappointed that I was ignoring sex, which surely is key to any description of speciation. Whoops, should have explained how Dieckmann and Doebeli handle that. I believe Brian Moore made it to the talk, which was nice, sad Graham Coop couldn’t make it. Still need to write this work up to send to Ulf..