Charles Mullon

I am interested in understanding the coevolution of complicated traits in class-structured populations, together with their underlying genetic architecture. Traits that have class-specific effects may lead to the emergence of higher order structures, like genome organisation, spatial clustering or even different species. Perturbations in these higher order structures in turn affect the mode of transmission of the genes coding for the traits. This feedback loop may generate counterintuitive evolutionary dynamics. The complexity of this relationship makes it very exciting to study, and I use mathematical and computational tools to do so.

For my PhD, I investigated the evolution of male and female traits, their co-evolution with the sex chromosomes, and how it was affected by different mating systems. During my post-doc, I aim to study the co-evolution of traits in spatially structured populations. In particular, I will look at the co-evolution of social traits with dispersal strategies. Limited dispersal creates genetic correlations, thereby setting favourable conditions for the emergence of social traits. Whilst this has long been established, very few studies have explicitly tackled the co-evolution of the two. What happens when dispersal strategies also evolve? Answering this question will hopefully provide us with a better understanding of the evolution of social traits in natural populations.

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