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K-State Today

February 15, 2017

Division of Biology presents special seminar Feb. 16

By Michi Tobler

Axel Meyer

The Division of Biology presents a special seminar by world-renowned genomicist and evolutionary biologist Axel Meyer, professor at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Meyer will present, "Genomic signatures of adaptation and speciation during sympatric divergence in parallel species flocks of cichlid fishes" at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, in 120 Ackert Hall.

Meyer will explore the rarely documented phenomenon of sympatric speciation. Most new species are formed when populations become physically isolated, promoting the build up of differences that make species unique. Sympatric speciation is the origin of new species in the same geographic area without physical barriers, and has rarely been documented in natural systems. Meyer is a leading expert on the factors that promote this rare form of speciation, and he will discuss how patterns of change across the genome provide new insight into adaptation and sympatric speciation in tropical freshwater fishes.

Meyer is internationally known for his work on the adaptive radiation of fishes, the role of genome duplications in evolution, molecular phylogenetics of vertebrates, and the role of ecological and sexual selection in speciation.

He leads a research group of nine faculty and postdoctoral investigators and an additional 18 graduate students and technicians at the University of Konstanz, where his group continues to pursue fundamental questions in evolutionary biology spanning topics from the origin of genomic diversity to the developmental basis of morphological differentiation.

As a result of his many contributions to the field of evolutionary biology, Meyer has received multiple awards and honors, including induction into the German Academy of Sciences and European Academy of Arts and Sciences.

With more than 350 peer-reviewed articles and nearly 20,000 citations, Meyer is one of the most cited researchers in the plant and animal sciences. His works include 19 publications in the journal Nature and its affiliated titles, and 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which have garnered diverse recognition by media outlets including the New York Times, Fox News, BBC News, National Geographic and NPR. In addition, he is a champion for science communication to the general public, authoring more than 60 popular press articles and multiple popular science books on evolution and the roles of genes in shaping human nature.