We received more than 200 symposium proposals and the scientific committee had the hard task to select from those. The diversity and quality of the proposals were outstanding, offering a unique picture of current areas of excitement and progress in Evolutionary Biology. Unfortunately, due to space constraints, we could retain only about 40% of proposals.

In the context of this joint conference mixing different societies and scientific communities from diverse geographical origins, the scientific committee paid particular attention to issues of breadth of topics covered and diversity of organizers. Our ultimate aim was to give the opportunity to present their work to many and facilitate interactions between participants who may meet rarely otherwise. The scientific committee also solicited a few supplementary symposia to fill obvious gaps in the scientific program corresponding to popular fields in evolutionary biology, with little or no cover in the received symposium proposals. An open symposium will also welcome high quality contributions not fitting in any of the thematic symposia.

There will be 78 symposia during the meeting, running as parallel sessions. Each symposium will be either half-day or full-day long.

Take the time to scroll down this long list and find out where you want to submit your abstract and which symposia you should not miss.

Organizers are listed in alphabetical order.

S1. SSE W. D. Hamilton Award Symposium

Organizers: Joel McGlothlin

The W. D. Hamilton Award will be given to the presenter of an outstanding talk by a graduate student (or recent Ph.D. graduate). Finalists will be selected based on the quality of submitted abstracts and will present their talks at the Hamilton Symposium. The most competitive talks will be those that can convey a complete story. Such talks are most likely to be given by students who are close to completing their dissertations or by former students who wish to present results from a dissertation defended within the past year. Talks that primarily present preliminary data or just an initial part of a dissertation are not likely to be competitive, and we strongly suggest that those students wait to compete for this award. The presenter must currently be enrolled in a graduate program or have received her or his degree within twelve months of the date of the annual meeting, and must be a member of the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE).
The winner of the award will receive $1,000 and a one-year membership to the Society for the Study of Evolution, which includes a one-year subscription to the journal Evolution. Up to two Honorable Mentions will each receive a one-year membership to the Society for the Study of Evolution, including a subscription to Evolution. This year, finalists will receive a $500 travel stipend from the SSE and a registration fee waiver.
For more information see:

S2. SSB Ernst Mayr Award Symposium

Organizers: Tracy Heath, Emily Jane McTavish

The Ernst Mayr Award is given to the presenter of the outstanding student talk in the field of systematics at the annual meetings of the Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB). This is SSB's premier student award, and is judged by the quality and creativity of the research completed over the course of the student's Ph.D. program. Abstracts should clearly indicate methods used, conclusions, and the relevance to systematics. Presentations focusing on other areas of biology (ecology, behavior, genetics, populations or molecular biology, etc.) that lack a strong systematics emphasis are not eligible. The award consists of $1000, a certificate of distinction, and a two-year membership in the Society of Systematic Biologists.
Members of SSB who are students or have completed their Ph.D. within the last 15 months are eligible. Applicants may be from any country, but MUST be members of SSB, and are advised to join the Society as soon as possible to be considered. Previous Mayr Award winners are not eligible.​
For more information see:

S3. ASN Vice- President Symposium: Advances through theory: an exploration of mathematical models in ecology and evolution

Organizers: Maria Servedio

Theoretical models often have fundamentally different goals than do empirical studies of the same topic.  Models can test the logic of existing hypotheses, explore the plausibility of new hypotheses, provide expectations that can be matched to data, and address aspects of topics that are currently inaccessible empirically.  This symposium will present a variety of mathematical models in ecology models will be identified, highlighting the power of a theoretical approach.
This symposium organized by the Vice-President of ASN will feature several invited speakers giving longer talks, but will also welcome contributed talks.

Invited speakers: Erol Akçay (University of Pennsylvania), Emma Goldberg (University of Minnesota), Mark Kirkpatrick (University of Texas at Austin), Hanna Kokko (University of Zürich), Sarah Otto (University of British Columbia)

S4. Evolution on the edge: eco-evolutionary dynamics, range expansion, and local adaptation.

Organizers: Laurent Excoffier, Maria Orive, Stephan Peischl, Eric Petit

It has become increasingly clear that evolutionary processes and population dynamics are intertwined, and that they often occur on similar time-scales. For instance, range expansions, contractions or shifts can impose severe constraints on the evolution and adaptive potential of edge populations, and recent theoretical, experimental and empirical research has shown that evolution can severely affect the outcome of seemingly purely demographic processes such as range expansions or range shifts. Understanding these conflicting forces is critical both to predicting how populations will respond to changing environmental conditions, and to predicting the fate of invasive species as they spread. It is however still unclear which demographic processes facilitate or hinder adaptive evolution, or what are the exact factors determining the limits of species ranges. Mating and reproductive systems, dispersal distances and priority effects, and explicitly spatial processes such as clonal spread and gene flow, are all expected to play important roles in determining how space and selection shape adaptation at the edge of species ranges. This symposium will bring together empirical and theoretical scientists investigating the interactions between demography, ecology and evolution on range margins.

Invited speaker: Michael Whitlock “Challenges at the range margin: Interactions between expansion load and heterogeneous selection”

S5. Evolution in Metapopulations and Structured Populations: A Symposium in honor of Ilkka Hanski, Isabelle Olivieri and Dave McCauley

Organizers: Robert Holt, Michael Whitlock

We have recently lost three of the leading founders of metapopulation biology:  Ilkka Hanski, Isabelle Olivieri, and Dave McCauley. This symposium will celebrate their memory through modern research on the topics that they all contributed so much to. This symposium will survey current thinking on evolution in structured populations with an emphasis on metapopulations. As befits the broad legacy of the honorees, many aspects of evolution in metapopulations will be addressed, such as evolution of dispersal, local adaptation and gene flow, levels of selection issues, coevolutionary dynamics, among others. Talks with applied emphases will also be encouraged, because metapopulation dynamics is central to many problems in conservation biology, infectious disease ecology, restoration ecology, and many other arenas of applied evolutionary biology.

Invited speaker: Anna-Liisa Laine “Pathogen evolution in a highly dynamic metapopulation”

S6. Microgeographic adaptation and adaptive landscape genomics

Organizers: Delphine Grivet, Ivan Scotti

Microgeographic adaptation (adaptation that occurs through divergence within the range of gene dispersal, in spite of gene flow) is an emerging trend, allowing us to identify adaptively relevant genetic regions and traits that are variable within populations. Coupled with population-dynamic models, environmental models, and mechanistic models of trait determination, this is very useful to study the adaptive potential of populations and to predict the response of populations to environmental changes. Landscape adaptive genomics deals with the identification of how the landscape affects the distribution of adaptive variation at the genomic level, and therefore deals with the processes through which environmental pressure filters genetic variants. The genomic turn allows us to have an exhaustive view of how selection operates on divergence at the genomic level, potentially revealing multi-locus processes and networks of co-evolving loci. The combination of these two slightly different points of view is likely to allow us to better focus on population-level evolutionary processes.

Invited speaker: Andrew J. Eckert “Fine-scale patterns of adaptive genetic variation: local adaptation and speciation within and across species of Pinus”.

S7. Social evolution and kin selection: confronting nature with theory

Organizers: Florence Débarre, John Pannell, Nicolas Rode, Rubén Torices

Social organization represents one of the major transitions in the evolution of life. Although social complexity has evolved in different lineages, most research has focused on societies of sentient animals, but prokaryotes, protists, fungi and plants often occur in structured populations in which closely related neighbours interact. The impact of such social interactions on trait evolution has been studied independently using either quantitative genetic (e.g. in plant and animal breeding) or kin selection approaches (e.g. in evolutionary biology). The former considers indirect genetic effects (IGEs), where the phenotype of an individual depends on the genes of its social partners, whereas the latter considers the balance between individual fitness costs and benefits. This symposium aims to showcase a diversity of taxa and contexts in which social interactions may play a key role in evolution. It particularly aims to connect empirical research with recent theoretical advances, seeking unity between quantitative genetic and kin selection approaches. We hope to foster discussion between theoreticians and empiricists, and to prompt theoreticians to identify new avenues of synthesis.

Invited speaker: Susan A. Dudley “Kin recognition, kin selection and group selection in plants”

S8. Social behaviour and evolution in the omics era

Organizers: John Bruce, Melanie Ghoul, Jaime Grace, Philip Johns

From genes cooperating to form organisms to animals cooperating to form societies, all of life is social. Social behaviours, including cooperation, aggression, mating, and parenting, have historically been confined to studies of organismal- or population-level phenotypes. Thanks to the “-omics” revolution, it is now possible to dissect the evolution of these behaviours to the genotypic level. Furthermore, in the study of mutualisms, genomics have been used to unveil previously hidden microsymbionts, while transcriptomics, metabolomics and proteomics have identified which genetic and metabolic pathways are used and therefore how individuals are interacting. Omics methodologies can be used to identify social ‘cheats’ and infer evolutionary dynamics in natural populations, and will be central to examining the consequences of social behaviours for genome evolution and gene expression, both within and between species. This symposium will bring together researchers using omic approaches to clarify fundamental aspects of sociobiology and behavioural ecology including who is interacting and how, and those attempting to link the occurrence of social behaviours with variation across the genome, transcriptome and metabolome.

Invited speaker: Sandra B. Andersen “Use of genomics to identify social interactions in a population of pathogenic bacteria”

S9. Mechanisms of communication and recognition in social evolution

Organizers: Mark Elgar, Christina Riehl

The ability to recognize individuals and communicate with fellow group members is crucial to the evolution of complex social behavior. Cooperating individuals must produce and receive signals that identify themselves as appropriate partners, and collective behaviors require group members to communicate their intentions and synchronize their actions. But how do mechanisms of recognition and communication co-evolve with social behavior, and how do similar signaling abilities arise across animal lineages with vastly different sensory systems and cognitive capacities? Although mechanisms of communication and recognition are studied extensively in diverse systems (from the role of cuticular hydrocarbons in the recognition systems of social insects to the recent discovery that young birds learn family-specific vocalizations while still in the nest), they are rarely synthesized to seek common patterns across taxa. This symposium will bring together leading theoreticians and empiricists to discuss the proximate mechanisms and selective pressures that favour the diversity of recognition systems of social animals. With a wide range of taxa extending from bacteria to insects to humans, and with mathematical treatments of the evolutionary stability of recognition systems, this synthesis of our current understanding of the field will shape future research directions.

Invited speaker: Sarah D. Kocher “Solitary bees reduce investment in communication compared with their social relatives”

S10. Major transitions in individuality and levels of selection

Organizers: Guy A. Cooper, Asher Leeks, Matishalin Patel

Complex life is characterized by the simultaneous existence of multiple levels of biological organisation. For example, a eusocial insect hive is an adaptive evolutionary individual. Yet, it is composed of distinct organisms that are each a colony of cells. Each of these nested levels of biological organisation represents an ancient evolutionary transition to higher-level individuality. The major transitions framework searches for common evolutionary processes at work during each of these transitions. For example, do major transitions require groups to form in particular ways? Investigating these processes requires us to synthesise empirical findings from many different systems. Furthermore, as groups form, selection may act on the constituent individuals as well as at the group level. These differing selection pressures can be accounted for using different conceptual methodologies, namely kin selection and multi-level selection. However, historically there has been limited cross talk between practitioners. This symposium will bring together theoretical and empirical researchers working on a range of different systems in order to focus on two broad areas: 1) How do groups form, divide labour, and become mutually dependent across different transitions? Are there any overarching patterns? 2) Do the different approaches to modelling levels of selection lead to different qualitative results?

Invited speaker: Laurent Keller “A single supergene underlies a shift from simple to complex family structure in fire ants”

S11. Multi-level selection and the origins of life

Organizers: David A. Baum, Niles Lehman, Michael Travisano

How living systems evolve from non-living matter is one of the greatest unsolved scientific problems.  New paleontological data suggests that life might have arisen very soon after Earth became habitable and new models suggest that chemical systems with some life-like properties might emerge more easily than previously suspected. As a result, evolutionary biologists are becoming more involved in origin of life science, a field that has been dominated historically by chemists, geologists, and theoretical physicists.  A role for evolutionary biology is highly relevant given that the capacity for adaptive evolution is often viewed as the primary defining feature of life.  Furthermore, multi-level selection theory is proving relevant insofar as the emergence of collectively autocatalytic chemical systems (of which life is an example) is analogous to the emergence of higher-level individuals (e.g., multicellular organisms) as new targets of selection.  The symposium will cover both theoretical work and the role of evolutionary theory in guiding empirical research.

Invited speaker: Wim Hordijk "Autocatalytic Sets and the Origin of Life"

S12. The Evolution of Resistance

Organizers: François Blanquart, Julia M. Kreiner

The rapid evolution of resistance to xenobiotics among viruses, microbes, plants, and insects is a compelling example of rapid evolution in action and a major challenge of the XXIst century. Resistance to antivirals, antibiotics, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides each have distinct ecologies, however, each provide a unique opportunity for the study of adaptation in real time. Resistance research occurs at both the applied and basic levels: applied work leads to crucial policies designed to limit the emergence and spread of resistance, whereas basic research provides a conceptual understanding of the nature of adaptation. This symposium aims at bringing together researchers from different backgrounds working on the evolution of resistance from an ecological and evolutionary perspective. Progress in sequencing technology, high-throughput experimental methods, and mathematical and statistical modelling allow for sophisticated approaches to tackle key questions such as: Is the convergent evolution of resistance due to parallel molecular changes? Which species- and population-level characteristics determine the rate of adaptation? What are the costs of and extent of epistasis for resistance mutations? How does resistance evolve under complex spatiotemporal patterns of selection?  We welcome submissions of experimental, observational, and theoretical work on the broad topic of resistance evolution, and are particularly interested in those that bridge several of these approaches.

Invited speaker: Claudia Bank "What do we need to predict resistance evolution?"

S13. Pathogen evolution during chronic infection – towards evolutionary disease management

Organizers: Ville-Petri Friman, Alexandre Jousset Rees Kassen, Alex Wong, Wei Zhong

The evolution of bacterial pathogens is an ever increasing problem for healthcare and agriculture. During chronic infection, a bacterial pathogen colonizes a single host for many years and is often recalcitrant to treatment with conventional antibiotic therapy. For example, long-term colonization of the lung by Mycobacterium or by Pseudomonas presents a myriad of challenges to which the pathogen must adapt or face extinction. The drivers of long term infection remain poorly understood but a growing body of evidence points, unsurprisingly, to evolutionary processes playing a critical role and this, consequently, raises the possibility of new treatment and management strategies informed by evolutionary thought.  For example, evolving resistance to one antibiotic can make pathogens more susceptible to other antibiotics, antagonists, or parasites, when resistance mutations show pleiotropic effects. Trade-offs between pathogen life-history traits might be leveraged to control disease if traits selected by one treatment render a pathogen easier to eradicate with another. This symposium will highlight recent developments in the evolution of bacterial pathogens during chronic infection, focusing on how evolutionary principles could be applied in disease management across host-pathogens systems. We welcome people from various research fields, including the microbiome, systems biology, experimental evolution and mathematical modelling, who share common interests in infectious disease biology and the evolutionary theory of adaptation.

Invited speaker: David Guttman « Evolution of Burkholderia in the cystic fibrosis lung »

S.14. New horizons in host-parasite co-genomics and co-evolution

Organizers: Nadia Aubin-Horth, Sebastien Calvignac-Spencer, Dieter Ebert, Peter D. Fields, Tobias Lenz

Host-parasite co-evolution represents one of the most dynamic processes in evolution. Much of the research on the signatures of co-evolutionary dynamics to date has typically focused on only a single interactant, or are limited to the study of extant populations, and these omissions impede the understanding of the reciprocal nature of the co-evolutionary process. Our symposium will be presented in the explicit context of looking at how the members of a co-evolutionary process interact at the molecular, cellular and physiological levels, thereby generating a range of signatures of the co-evolutionary process both in historical and recently derived samples. The aim of this symposia is to create bridges among a range of disciplines in biology, combining talks featuring complementary expertise in empirical (genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, ancient DNA, and environmental DNA) and a computational/theory focused methodologies in order to synthesize what we know on how the genome of two species interact and co-evolve through time. The 2018 Joint Congress would be an excellent time to present these exciting new avenues for understanding the many facets of co-evolution.

Invited speaker: Charissa De Bekker “Genomics as a way to elucidate the interactions between behavior manipulating fungi and their ant hosts”

S15. Evolutionary immunology: tradeoffs and mechanisms

Organizers: Jessie Abbate, Randolph Nesse, Frank Rühli, Jamie C. Winternitz

There is growing interest in the role of trade-offs on the evolution of host defense strategies, such as competition between resistance vs. tolerance mechanisms, protection against a diversity of foreign invaders vs. vulnerability to autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, or exposure to multiple coevolving pathogens. Excitingly, advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies present the opportunity to move beyond candidate gene approaches to study host resistance using unbiased whole-genome approaches of both the host and pathogen. In addition, genome-wide association study (GWAS) approaches could also reveal the relative importance of select genes of large effect versus many genes of small effect across the genome for disease resistance. Thus, GWAS offer the potential to reveal new insights into the genetic basis of parasite-mediated selection on host and pathogen genetic diversity. This symposium will also explore how co-evolution shapes asymmetric fitness landscapes that result in apparent suboptimal immune function. Given the recent explosion of autoimmune disorders in recent decades, we especially encourage presentations that investigate this pattern through evolutionary immunological studies of trade-offs between resistance and autoimmune diseases. Submissions are encouraged from scientists from diverse backgrounds with the goal of exploring how studies of disease can advance evolutionary biology and encourage evolutionary applications in medicine.

Invited speaker: Scott V. Edwards “Subtle signatures of selection and coevolution in whole genome studies of hosts and pathogens”

S16. Parasite and symbiont niches: host specificity and beyond

Organizers: Liana Burghardt, Shan Huang, Andrew Park, Corlett Wood

Understanding the distribution of parasite species among host species (specificity) is a fundamental question in evolutionary ecology, with application to conservation biology, agriculture, and zoonotic risk assessment. Here, we propose a symposium with a focus on recent discoveries of broad patterns of host specificity, as well as ecological and evolutionary factors that drive the patterns. We envision a discussion of how we can take advantage of long-developed niche theory in free-living species to enlighten what drives parasite distribution and concomitant disease emergence. This niche framework could also illuminate and be informed by interactions on the other end of the symbiosis spectrum: beneficial mutualistic relationships. We believe that the integration of knowledge and ideas from studies on organisms of diverse life styles will be a powerful approach to understanding dominant processes and patterns of specificity. Recent advances, including evaluation of the roles of host phenotypes and genotypes, placing relationships in an evolutionary context, and comparing biogeographic patterns of parasitic, mutualistic and free-living taxa, have highlighted promising directions for future work. A symposium presenting exciting outcomes from this nascent field will shed light onto the key question: how can we characterize the niche of a parasite?

Invited speaker: Amy Pedersen “Linking macroecological patterns and microecological processes in multi-host parasite systems”

S17. Evolutionary Epidemiology across multiple scales

Organizers: Chris Illingworth, Ryosuke Iritani, Katrina Lythgoe, Jayna Raghwani, Senay Yitbarek

The spread and evolution of pathogens occurs across different scales.  However, interactions between these scales are poorly understood.  For example, mutations amplifying pathogen growth within a host may not necessarily promote pathogen transmission. In addition, at larger geographical scales, the build-up of spatial differentiation during the initial phase of an epidemic can result in varying selection pressures on virulence between the front and rear in an expanding epidemic. There is therefore a gap between evolutionary and epidemiological studies considering multiple scales of host-parasite interactions. To fill this gap, more active interaction between researchers using different approaches is necessary. In this symposium, we invite contributions from evolutionary biologists and ecologists working on a wide variety of pathogen systems, and using a broad range of approaches, including theory, experiments, and comparative analyses of data. Our aim is to stimulate new research questions and methods and to encourage cross-disciplinary research in this area.

Invited speaker: Jamie O. Lloyd-Smith “Selection at multiple scales shapes the evolutionary emergence of novel pathogens”

S18. Evolution of hosts and parasites with their microbiomes: a problem of unfaithful relationships

Organizers: Nolwenn M. Dheilly, Angela Douglas, Joaquín Martínez-Martínez, Hinrich Schulenburg

Any organism may carry microbes that participate in shaping their development, metabolism, immunity, and interaction with other organisms. The mutual benefits shown by hosts and their microbiomes are often assumed to result from repeated reciprocal evolutionary processes. In many systems, however, the taxonomic composition of the microbiome does not map to host phylogeny and the so-called core microbiome of a host species can be identified only at higher taxonomic levels (e.g., bacterial order or family). Therefore, co-evolution cannot explain all the specific interactions observed among hosts and their microbiome members and we are in need of alternative explanatory models. These models are also central for our understanding of the dynamics of host-parasite coevolution, which is likely shaped by microbes associated with the host, the parasite, or both. This symposium will bring together evolutionary biologists focusing on coevolution, microbial adaptation, animal and plant immune defense, with parasitologists, researchers working on infectious diseases, and also ecologists. We will explore the evolutionary and ecological processes that result in the formation of a mutually beneficial host-microbiome association, the functionally relevant characteristics of such interaction, and the influence of microbes on host-parasite coevolutionary dynamics.

Invited speaker: Brendon Bohanan “Moving beyond metaphors in the study of host-associated microbiomes”

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S19. The evolution of mutualisms and their evolutionary impact on biodiversity

Organizers: Guillaume Chomicki, Liliana Dávalos, Sharlene Santana, Marjorie Weber

Widespread in nature, mutualistic associations –cooperative interactions between unrelated species– are linked to major evolutionary transitions in life history, and are pivotal for ecosystem functioning. The evolution of mutualisms has long been a riddle: while they are thought to be prone to breakdown, some have persisted for millions of years. Recent conceptual efforts have aimed to understand how mutualisms change and are maintained over evolutionary time. However, several aspects of their evolutionary dynamics are still highly debated, including their role in the phenotypic coevolution and diversification of interacting lineages. New phylogenetic comparative approaches, together with ever-wider phenotypic datasets, have opened up new perspectives in the understanding of mutualism evolution and its effect on trait and lineage diversification. The 2018 Joint Congress is a timely international venue to bring together experts in fields that should be integrated to fully explore this topic, notably phylogenetic comparative methods, population genetics, genomics, and mathematical modeling. This symposium will bring together scientists working on diverse aspects, and at different scales, of mutualism evolution, which will allow for the identification of gaps and opportunities for future research in understanding the causes and consequences of the evolution of mutualisms

Invited speaker: Naomi Pierce "Ant symbioses: from parasitism to mutualism"

S20. How Predictable is Evolution?

Organizers: Troy Day, Sally Otto

In his best-selling book Wonderful Life Stephen Jay Gould famously argued that the process of evolution is not predictable because it is highly contingent on chance events. The field of evolutionary biology has progressed enormously since then and most scientists now agree that evolution can be predictable. Like weather forecasting, however, our ability to make evolutionary predictions depends on the scale and timeframe of interest. And as with weather forecasting, this predictive ability is rapidly advancing due to expanding databases and increasingly sophisticated models. Our symposium will bring together researchers with diverse skills and interests working at the cutting edge of this exciting area. Research on evolutionary prediction spans a range of topics, from basic science (e.g., repeatable patterns in evolution experiments) to applied issues (e.g., evolution in response to climate change or antibiotics). The timing for this symposium is perfect given the growing focus on evolutionary applications, from evolution in response to medical interventions to adaption to novel environments.

Invited speaker: Michael Lässig “Predicting fast pathogen evolution”

S21. In vivo, in vitro, in silico experimental evolution. Convergence and insights into evolution

Organizers: Guillaume Beslon, Dominique Schneider

The interest of evolutionary biologists for microbial experimental evolution has substantially grown in the last ten years. Indeed, it is a powerful tool to unravel the evolutionary dynamics of microorganisms, efficiently complementing population genetics, phylogeny, comparative genomics… In experimental evolution, fast-growing organisms are scrutinized for many generations (up to tens of thousands) while they reproduce – hence evolve – in in vivo- or in vitro-controlled conditions. More recently, a new modeling approach has emerged that observes in silico the evolution of digital organisms with variation properties – hence evolving in a computer. “In silico experimental evolution” (ISEE, aka “digital genetics”) allows for very long simulations (up to millions of generations) with high statistical power (hundreds of repetitions) and perfectly controlled experiments (by finely tuning the simulation parameters). It offers an invaluable tool to decipher the consequences of, for instance, changes in mutation rates or living conditions. Yet, ISEE propagates organisms that are avatars, making them difficult to compare with living organisms and validate results. This workshop will bring together researchers from in vivo, in vitro and in silico experimental evolution to share methods, tools and results in order to unravel the points of convergence/divergence between these approaches and show how global insights can be provided for evolutionary processes.

Invited speaker: Richard E. Lenski “Evolutionary insights from the E. coli long-term evolution experiment”

S22. The molecular basis of convergent evolution: shared and unique features

Organizers: Darrin Hulsey, Suzanne McGaugh, Marie Semon, Yoel Stuart

Examples of convergent evolution, where independent populations repeatedly evolve similar phenotypes in similar environments, are heralded in evolutionary biology as strong evidence for natural selection and adaptation. Recent methodological advances for detecting convergent evolution in genomic data make it increasingly possible to investigate how taxa evolve under similar selection pressures. In some instances, populations evolve different phenotypic solutions to the same challenge. In other instances, the same phenotypes may evolve by similar or different genetic means. Thus, there is a continuum of varying degrees of convergence (or, parallelism) at the molecular or phenotypic level. Even in lineages famous for convergence, unique features of evolution within populations often outnumber shared features among populations. To explain why convergent evolution occurs inconsistently, we need to answer lingering questions such as:   Are similar or different genetic architectures are tapped to achieve convergence? Are individual traits that are frequently gained and lost during evolution more likely to have a simple genetic basis? Does repeated loss of traits require different genetic pathways and generate different genomic signatures than repeated gain of traits? Do pleiotropy and other genetic constraints bias evolution towards convergence? To what extent are selective pressures really repeated among ostensibly similar environments? This symposium invites empirical and methodological abstracts that investigate the genetic and ecological underpinnings of convergent and unique evolution at multiple biological levels, with an emphasis on genetic architecture.

Invited speaker: Graham Coop “Population Genomics of Convergence”

S23. From development to function: what does drive morphological convergences?

Organizers: Helder Gomes Rodrigues, Sophie Pantalacci

Convergent traits are very informative on the nature of processes driving, channeling or constraining evolution. Recurrent questions are whether convergent evolution is driven by adaptive or neutral processes and following internal (e.g. developmental gene networks, ontogeny) or external constraints (e.g. competition, environmental changes). Here, we want to focus on convergent evolution of morphological traits. This focus is necessary because the above-mentioned questions are made especially challenging by very complex relationships between genes, development and morphology on one hand, and morphology and function on the other hand. The symposium will be dedicated to the origins of morphological convergences in animals and plants. The aim is to highlight how developmental mechanisms on the one hand, and functional characteristics on the other hand, may explain the multiple occurrences of traits both in the fossil record and in extant species, in well-controlled phylogenetic contexts. It will be an opportunity for different communities of evolutionary biologists (e.g. geneticists, developmental biologists, paleobiologists, anatomists) to share their views on convergent evolution. With its focus on developmental and function, this symposium will also constitute a suitable and necessary counterpart to the proposed symposium dealing with the genomic basis of convergent evolution.

Invited speaker: Karen Sears “Developmental basis of morphological convergences during mammalian limb evolution”

S24. Evolution and development in deep time, merging insights from paleontology and developmental biology

Organizers: Ryan Felice, Alexa Sadier

This symposium will build an overview of the current issues in organismal evolution with a focus on deep historical aspects of evolutionary biology in relationship with the evolution of developmental processes. We invite applications from all researchers interested in plant and animal evolution involving integrative datasets coming from paleontology, developmental biology and associated fields to answer the following questions. Can we improve our understanding of deep homology and the phylogenetic relationships among clades? How do evolutionary novelties and key innovations arise? How have shared developmental processes facilitated- or constrained- the evolution of diversity though space and time? Evolutionary-developmental biology is a fundamentally integrative field, bringing together geneticists, morphologists, systems biologists and palaeontologists. We seek to highlight research that emphasizes this by bringing together a diverse group of investigators with complementary interests from every corner of the evo-devo and palaeontology communities. Critically, the interdisciplinary nature of this symposium will make it relevant to members of each of the societies represented at the Joint Congress.

Invited speaker: Mélanie Debiais-Thibaud “Type 10 collagen and the evolution of mineralization processes in vertebrate development”

S25. The macroevolutionary dynamics of form-function relationships

Organizers: Christine Böhmer, Alexandra Houssaye, Brandon Kilbourne, Martha Muñoz, Josef Uyeda

Macroevolutionary studies applied to comparative and paleontological datasets have revealed much about the dynamics of adaptation across deep time. While such studies commonly examine the evolution of morphology, an important intermediary connecting adaptive landscapes to phenotypic traits is organismal performance. Performance generally more closely relates to organismal fitness and may exhibit very different dynamics than the morphological traits underlying them. Thus, understanding the biomechanics and performance of biological systems can provide key insights into the connections between macroevolutionary models and adaptive landscapes and give greater insights into the functional and ecological implications of major evolutionary transitions. Recent advances in the collection and availability of performance data from comparative and paleontological datasets combined with novel macroevolutionary and biomechanical models are allowing researchers to identify predictable patterns of evolution in response to phylogenetically replicated ecological shifts. By focusing on the relationships between form, function, fossils and phylogeny, this symposium will bring together experts in functional morphology and biomechanical modeling with developers and practitioners of phylogenetic comparative methods--with the goal of cultivating a deeper relationship between macroevolutionary models and biomechanical data and theory.

Invited speaker: Stephanie Pierce “Unravelling the evolution of the mammalian backbone”

S26. Horizontal transfer of genetic material: its vectors, patterns and eco-evolutionary consequences

Organizers: Richard Cordaux, Gilbert Clément, Ellie Harrison, Alvaro San Millan, Caroline Wendling

Horizontal transfer of genetic material (HT) is the passage of DNA between organisms that are not necessarily closely related, via mechanisms other than reproduction. Its study spans major evolutionary transitions to processes at an ecological scale. For prokaryotes, HT is a fundamental driver of adaptation, often mediated by mobile genetic elements (MGEs) which have their own ecological and evolutionary interests. As such, MGEs can be viewed as genomic symbionts coevolving with their hosts and engaged in antagonistic and cooperative interactions with other genomic loci. In eukaryotes, HT is being reported in an increasing number of taxa, including multicellular eukaryotes. Recent studies indicate that the nature of transferred DNA (genes, MGEs) as well as its sources (viruses, bacteria, other eukaryotes) are very diverse. This symposium covers many aspects of HT within and between prokaryotes, eukaryotes and viruses, including evolution and ecology of MGEs driving HT in prokaryotes, mechanisms underlying HT in eukaryotes, and patterns governing HT and their consequences. The topic is timely given the sharp rise in interest focused on HT and MGEs evolution. An integrated understanding of eukaryotic and prokaryotic HT can only be reached by connecting researchers from different fields of evolutionary biology in an interdisciplinary framework.

Invited speaker: Matthias Fischer “Genomic mobility of the virophage mavirus and its eco-evolutionary implications”

S27. Moving beyond point mutations: the role of structural genomic variation in adaptation and novelty

Organizers: Eyal Ben-David, Emma Berdan, Alejandro Burga, Claire Merot, Maren Wellenreuther

One of the key challenges in evolutionary biology is to understand how novelty arises. Genomic structural variants, such as large indels, translocations, duplications and inversions, are ubiquitous in nature. However, their role in adaptation and diversification remains largely unknown compared to single-nucleotide mutations. Recent advances in genomics, notably single-molecule long read sequencing combined with novel assembly algorithms, have now empowered researchers to systematically discover and characterize these complex variants for the first time. But how exactly do structural variants contribute to novelty at the molecular level? Remarkably, structural variants have been linked to the spread and evolution of selfish genetic elements (transposons, meiotic drivers and post-segregation distorters) as well as the birth and diversification of gene families (gene duplication and de novo gene evolution). Furthermore, transcriptomic and pedigree analyses suggest that structural variants are frequently associated with QTLs or neo-functionalization. With this symposium, we aim to bring together researchers who apply experimental and computational approaches to: 1) characterize structural variants, 2) test the role of structural variants in adaptation and diversification, including studies with an emphasis on selfish genetic elements and de novo gene evolution, and 3) document the ecological determinants of that govern the distribution of structural variants in wild populations.

Invited speaker: Luisa Orsini "The role of genome structural variation on plastic and constitutive phenotypic divergence in multifarious environments"

S28. The role of repetitive genetic elements in genome evolution and adaptation and speciation

Organizers: Frédéric Brunet, Amanda Larracuente, Matthias Weissensteiner

Repetitive DNA is ubiquitous in eukaryotes. Work over several decades has revealed a staggering diversity of repetitive elements, including microsatellites, transposable elements (TEs), and large blocks of tandemly repeated sequences (satellite DNA). These repeats are associated with essential chromosomal features, such as centromeres and telomeres, and mediate recombination, transcriptional regulation, and structural rearrangements. TE evolution is especially dynamic: TEs are usually silenced through epigenetic mechanisms; however occasional bursts of transposition occur, with major genomic consequences. Comparative analyses show that lineage-specific cycles of activity and extinction alter the TE content of genomes, and affect their diversity and age. TE activity can give birth to new genes and result in the reshaping of regulatory networks. This turnover of repeats, both satellite DNA and TEs, may contribute to genomic and phenotypic diversity, and even lead to reproductive isolation between species. New advances in genome sequencing, including long read technologies, have circumvented the inherent difficulties in sequencing repeats, and yielded new insights into the landscape of repeats across genomes, their structural features, and functional roles. The focus of this symposium is on the timely topic of repeat evolution and its impact on biological diversity, adaptation, and speciation.

Invited speaker: Cédric Feschotte “Mobile DNA as catalyst of convergent evolution”

S29. Comparative and mechanistic phylogeography in the big data era

Organizers: Roberta Damasceno, Katherine Marske, Andrea Paz, Cynthia Riginos

Multi-taxon, multi-region investigations of spatial genetic diversity and differentiation enable testing of long-standing hypotheses regarding influences of environment, topography, and specific biological traits on intraspecific diversity. These “big data” approaches can yield new insights into the connections between ecology, evolution and biogeography. Whereas data necessary for large-scale comparative analyses already exist, and many groups are synthesizing this published 'legacy' data to explore continental to global-scale patterns of genetic diversity, many practical challenges for assembling and analyzing these datasets remain. A concurrent challenge in phylogeography is to statistically assess potential causative mechanisms and move beyond correlational analyses. Thus, as a multidisciplinary field, phylogeography should seek robust approaches to integrate different and large datasets and characterize large-scale patterns. This symposium will feature theoretical, analytical, and computational advances to approach such issues by showcasing: ideas for handling big and integrated data; methods for quantifying multi-taxon, intraspecific patterns; and the development of process-focused modeling tools. A reinvigorated comparative and mechanistic phylogeography can be integral to predicting future shifts in distribution ranges, spatial patterns of functional diversity, community composition, ecological interactions, and ecosystem services.

Invited speaker: Leslie Rissler « Ensuring that integrative science is enabled in the age of "big data" »

S30. Novel approaches in phylogenetic comparative methods for modelling trait evolution

Organizers: Cécile Ané, Julien Clavel, Michael Collyer, Alejandro Gonzalez-Voyer, Antigoni Kaliontzopoulou, Susana Magallón

Phylogenetic comparative methods (PCM) are powerful tools for testing hypotheses regarding the tempo and mode of evolution of phenotypic traits, by combining species data with phylogenetic trees. Recent years have seen rapid advances in the development of novel methods to study phenotypic evolution at a macroevolutionary scale, including more complex models of trait evolution that aim to provide a more accurate representation of expectations arising from distinct evolutionary processes. Important recent advances include the generalization of several approaches to allow testing of hypotheses for multivariate data describing complex traits; to accommodate species interactions; and to better link macroevolutionary patterns with diversification changes and underlying microevolutionary processes. Novel methods can also incorporate more realistic models of trait evolution in the face of complex evolutionary histories, such as reticulation events and gene flow. This symposium will present novel methodological advances, their empirical applications, and remaining challenges, including mathematical and computational challenges.

Invited speaker: Dean C. Adams “Phylogenetic comparative methods for studying trait evolution: advances and retreats”

S31. New approaches to phylogenomics

Organizers: Vincent Daubin, Nicola De Maio, Laura Eme, Carolin Kosiol

Genomes maintain a chronicle of their own history, from short scale evolution (e.g. cancer and within-host viral evolution) to the last common ancestor of all extant life. For some organisms, such as most microbial lineages, it is practically the sole source of evolutionary information available. For others, the interdependence between genome evolutionary patterns and life history traits (phenotype, ecology, epigenetic…) documented using other techniques remains largely obscure. Recent methodological developments in comparative genomics allow for gene tree / species tree reconciliation and the identification of horizontal gene transfer, for estimating the age, polymorphism and gene repertoire of ancestral populations, for tracing back the history of migrations, population splits and admixtures, and for reconstructing mutational and selective pressures. Understanding the link of these patterns to life history traits, population dynamics and evolutionary success remains a major question and methodological challenge. This symposium is dedicated to new methodological developments in integrating genomic data with other sources of information, from fossils, to phenotypic, epidemiological, epigenetic and geographical data.

Invited speaker: Andrew J. Roger “Realism in phylogenetic models is essential for reconstructing early eukaryote evolution”.

S32. Comparing phylogenetic trees: why and how?

Organizers: Jeremy Brown, Sylvain Charlat, Damien de Vienne, Robert Thomson

Comparing phylogenetic trees provides means to depict the evolutionary history of relationships among different biological entities. While similar processes are at play at different organizational levels, from genes to host-symbiont associations, different methods have been developed in different contexts. Some explicitly incorporate evolutionary processes such as gene loss, duplication and horizontal transfer, while others agnostically describe the variation in trees. Combining these approaches can provide deep insight into a wide variety of biological questions, including the drivers of gene tree variation, the prediction of protein-protein interactions, and co-evolutionary histories of interacting organisms and communities. This symposium will not only focus on methods for describing and comparing phylogenetic trees but will also allow discussing the many questions that these methods can be used to address. The goal of this discussion is to identify unifying themes in the questions, concepts, methodological needs and solutions used to understand and leverage phylogenetic variation.

Invited speaker: Céline Scornavacca “Gene tree-species tree reconciliation... and more”

S33. Ecological models of macroevolution

Organizers: Johnathan Drury, Matthew W. Pennell

While ecological interactions are fundamental to most macroevolutionary theories, until recently, models of macroevolution have assumed that evolution in one lineage happened independently of evolution in other lineages. Similarly, while there is a large body of work describing how ecological interactions can drive trait divergence and lineage diversification, researchers have generally left the predictions of these models untested over macroevolutionary timescales. However there has been a recent upwelling of interest in uniting these two research programs: phylogeneticists have developed models that explicitly include species interactions to quantify the strength and importance of interspecific interactions on diversification and trait evolution in neontological and fossil datasets, and evolutionary ecologists have begun investigating the large-scale patterns of diversity that emerge from models of ecological speciation. This exciting synthesis has the potential to unite micro- and macroevolutionary models of lineage and trait diversification. We think that a symposium highlighting ongoing theoretical and methodological developments and empirical applications at the forefront of the union between interspecific interactions and macroevolution could help accelerate innovation on this topic. Furthermore, several international research groups have made (fairly independent) contributions to this synthesis and the Joint Congress is a unique opportunity to bring them together.

Invited speaker: Rampal Etienne "The limits of ecological limits to diversification"

S34. Experimental and theoretical studies of the origins and consequences of diversification

Organizers: Vaughn Cooper, Caroline B. Turner

The process of diversification from a single ancestral genotype into two or more types which can stably coexist underlies the development of the complex ecological systems which now exist nearly everywhere on Earth. Yet diversification is not inevitable, nor does it occur to the same degree in all conditions. Factors such as spatial structure or temporal heterogeneity can influence whether organisms diversify, evolve to be generalists, or evolve plasticity. Furthermore, the same environment can select for diversification in some organisms, but not others. We invite contributions which address the causes of diversification and also those which consider the ecological and evolutionary consequences of diversification. How does the diversification of organisms affect their environment? Does coexistence of newly diversified types influence the subsequent evolution of those types? This symposium will focus on the origin and early divergence of ecologically distinct clades from a recent common ancestor and will highlight theoretical advances as well as experimental studies of diversification whether in the laboratory or in the field.

Invited speaker: Michael Travisano “Foundations of evolutionary innovation”

S35. Combining fossils and phylogenies in studies of diversification

Organizers: Fabien Condamine, Daniele Silvestro

Macroevolution seeks to understand deep-time processes shaping past and modern biodiversity. Fossils and molecular phylogenies provide complementary approaches to estimate diversification processes explaining biodiversity patterns across space, time, and clades. For a long time, paleontologists and biologists have worked independently, with few studies trying to integrate both disciplines. This symposium aims at advancing evolutionary research where paleobiology and molecular phylogenetics meet and complement each other. We will focus on the study of taxonomic, phenotypic and functional diversity, morphology, and function have changed through time. We think this proposal will make a timely subject for the 2nd Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology because recent studies have called for a better integration of paleontological and neontological perspectives to unravel the fundamental processes shaping Earth’s biodiversity. Although recent methodological developments have improved our ability to infer evolutionary processes from different sources of data, fossil and phylogenetic data may still provide contrasting evidence, which need to be understood and interpreted. The mechanisms driving taxonomic, phenotypic and functional diversification are likely more complex than the models we use to infer them. With this symposium, we hope to assemble a synthesis of the current status of integrated macroevolutionary research and outline the most promising future directions.

Invited speaker: Charles Marshall “Trading places - identifying the fundamental differences between molecular phylogenies and the fossil record by asking what neontologists and paleontologists would find most striking if they switched places”

S36. Ecological and genetic mechanisms underlying balanced polymorphisms

Organizers: Mathieu Joron, Annabel Whibley

This symposium will explore how balanced polymorphisms evolve, and how multiple complex strategies arise and are maintained within populations. Sometimes called syndromes, complex polymorphisms typically coordinate variations in morphology, behaviour, and/or life history traits. Classic examples include distinct sexual tactics in birds, alternative pollination strategies in plants, coexisting colony types in ants, mimicry polymorphisms in butterflies. Contributions will address how polymorphisms that require the appropriate segregation of multiple underlying mutations are generated and maintained. We welcome contributions from empirical and theoretical perspective, and aim to highlight the considerable progress that can be driven by the combination of ecology, genetics and genomics. While some approaches clarify the genetic basis and the recombination landscape underlying the co-segregation of multiple traits (e.g. inversion polymorphisms, large structural variants, supergenes), other approaches focus on the fitness landscapes associated with stable polymorphisms (sexual antagonism, self-incompatibility, frequency-dependent selection, heterozygote advantage). Combining those facets, a clearer picture emerges of how and why genes and their associated characters co-vary in linkage disequilibrium. A third facet to our understanding of complex polymorphisms is to address the apparent paradox of how differentiated haplotypes are formed in the first place, and how new combinations of epistatic characters may be picked by selection.

Invited speaker: Clemens Küpper “Understanding the balancing effects of a ruff inversion”

S37. Systematics Research in Africa: Impact for millions

Organizers: Laura Boykin, Laura Kubatko

The African continent is home to an enormous amount of biodiversity, presenting significant challenges in understanding and managing resources in a manner that respects human interactions with the natural environment. A group of scientists from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Australia and the United States of America have formed a coalition that seeks to utilize advanced phylogenetic, genomic and computational techniques to generate robust phylogenies to aid in understanding this biodiversity. The resulting phylogenetic understanding provides the framework that enables solutions to problems affecting millions of African people, such as food security and disease. In this symposium, we would like to highlight the amazingly innovative and impactful research that is happening on the African continent, including applications in agriculture, biodiversity and medicine. Because much of Africa systematics research has been carried out separately from “mainstream” systematics research, we believe our symposium can contribute to better integration by highlighting current work in Africa, thus providing an opportunity for new collaborations to begin.  Our ultimate goal is a more inclusive, diverse, and vibrant systematics community worldwide.

Invited speaker: Joseph Ndunguru “Translating upstream science into impact and benefit for the poor”

S38. Species in the Theory of Evolution: from concepts to methods and applications

Organizers: Sarah Samadi, Amir Yassin

Taxonomy – the science that divides organisms into taxonomic units – is often viewed as a descriptive science based on a very elementary scientific methodology. It is indeed not rare to compare the taxonomists to philatelists rather to researchers providing scientific insights on biological diversity. The aim of the symposium is to provide an opportunity to taxonomists to explain their scientific approach to biological diversity and how this approach is connected to others fields of evolutionary biology. (1) Methodology in taxonomy: or why taxonomists are not philatelists? (2)   Taxonomy and systematics in the “omic” era: How taxonomy and systematics integrate new technical and methodological advances? (3)  How taxonomy and systematics continue to provide new insights in “the origin of species”? (4)  Species inventories: facts or hypotheses about the structure of biodiversity? Impacts on conservation and management issues.

Invited speaker: Alessandro Minelli “Evolvability, modularity and innovation: an evo-devo perspective on the evolution of diagnostic characters between closely related species”

S39. Late stages in speciation: evolution of strong reproductive isolation in the presence of gene flow

Organizers: Roger Butlin, Jonna Kulmuni, Kay Lucek, Vincent Savolainen, Anja Westram

Although recent analyses of genome-wide data cast doubt on some of the most well-known examples of ‘sympatric speciation’, theoretical and empirical work indicate that speciation can occur in the face of gene flow. However, the general mechanisms and genomic architectures that permit such divergence remain poorly defined and controversial – particularly the mechanisms that drive speciation to completion, and the role of intrinsic barriers (which are often neglected in empirical studies) in the process. It is well understood how divergent selection can overcome gene flow to create local adaptation and genomically-localized differentiation. What is less clear is how the process of speciation might proceed from this state to one of strong isolation and genome-wide differentiation. This symposium will focus particularly on these later stages of speciation with gene flow. We will discuss the mechanisms that precede the completion of speciation, whereby successful reproduction is halted between diverging populations. These mechanisms may involve extrinsic as well as intrinsic barriers, and include reinforcement but also other processes that generate associations among barriers (‘coupling’) or cause differentiation to spread in the genome (‘congealing’). We welcome theoretical contributions or empirical work on any taxon.

Invited speaker: Robin Hopkins “Selection and gene flow during the process of reinforcement”

S40. Towards an integrated understanding of genomic and phenotypic divergence

Organizers: Reto Burri, Violaine Llaurens, David Marques, Richard Merrill, Marina Rafajilovic, Mark Ravinet

Identifying the molecular basis of adaptation and reproductive isolation has relied heavily on investigating genomic landscapes of differentiation. Although this has undoubtedly increased our understanding of both adaptation and speciation, it has also become clear that genomic landscapes are a complex product of a diverse array of processes. The extent to which evolutionary processes related to adaptation and speciation (including natural and sexual selection), as opposed to unrelated processes (including, for example, background selection, genetic drift, and gene flow), contribute to the evolution of landscapes of differentiation remains unclear. We would also like to know how genome structure, gene density, mutation and recombination rate variation may have modulated these processes. Similarly, we still know little about the effect of the genetic architecture of the phenotypes involved, or the role of phenotypically plastic traits (including learning) on genomic landscapes. From another viewpoint, how is phenotypic differentiation affected by these same factors? How are loci underlying ecological traits, mating cues and preferences arranged in the genome? And how does this, and their ecological, developmental and genetic interactions, influence the evolution of reproductive isolation? Ultimately we would like to understand the divergence of genomes in the context of the evolution of phenotypes on which selection acts, and vice versa. This symposium will consider both theoretical and empirical research aiming to better understand genomic and phenotypic divergence in the context of speciation and adaptation.

Invited speaker: Stuart Baird “Maintaining perspective in the study of speciation”

S41. Consequences of hybridization: from swamping to speciation

Organizers: Meredith Cenzer, Aaron Comeault, Joana Meier, Anna Runemark

Hybridization, although it occurs across the tree of life, has historically been treated as the result of rare mistakes that have little effect on important evolutionary processes. Recent advances in sequencing technologies have greatly facilitated the detection of hybridization and we now recognize hybridization as a common phenomenon that can either generate or swamp diversity at the level of the genotype, phenotype, and species. The goal of this symposium is to forge connections between, and integrate, studies addressing the diverse consequences of hybridization: from genetic swamping to adaptive introgression and speciation. We are targeting speakers applying approaches that range from ecological and behavioral studies of the proximate effects of hybridization to genomic or theoretical studies exploring the consequences of historical and contemporary hybridization on genomic differentiation and diversification.

Invited speaker: Molly Schumer “The evolution of hybrid populations and genomes: insights from swordtail fish”

S42. From theory to genome-wide data: inferring selection, demography, gene flow and admixture

Organizers: Frédéric Austerlitz, Kimberly Gilbert, Nathaniel Sharp, Paul Verdu

Population genomics has shown great use in understanding and reconstructing evolutionary processes and histories of populations. The increasing availability of genome-wide datasets allows investigation of numerous aspects of this evolutionary history including comparison of theoretical expectations to empirical datasets. Understanding the relative importance of natural selection and adaptation in the context of random genetic drift, population structure, mutation, and genetic linkage remains a central challenge in evolutionary studies. In this context, adapting and advancing classical population genetics tools to the study of genomic data has become crucial to infer increasingly complex demographic processes such as population size changes over time, and complex gene flow and admixture patterns. Furthermore, identifying signatures of adaptive and deleterious processes at the genomic level requires new theoretical developments, to assess for example whether selection occurs on standing genomic variation, and how often structural as opposed to single-nucleotide variants contribute to adaptive evolution. Bridging the gaps between theory, experimental evidence, and applications to real datasets requires the use of sophisticated and highly intensive computational methods such as Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) or Monte Carlo Markov Chains (MCMC). We aim at presenting theoretical advances, new methodological developments, and applications to data in all kind of organisms.

Invited speaker: Mattias Jakobsson “Inferring the evolution of early humans from complete genome sequences”

S43. Ancient DNA studies of Adaptive Processes through Time

Organizers: Andrew Foote, Eline Lorenzen

Long-term time series data have the benefit of being able to estimate effective population size through time using neutral markers and identify the timing of demographic change relative to ecological change; and to quantify the tempo and chronology of changes in allele frequencies and sites known to be the targets of natural selection during ecological shifts. Given the temporal aspect of adaptation and speciation, ancient DNA (aDNA) techniques are an obvious and promising tool with which to track the progress of natural selection’s effect upon the genome using time-series data. However, the emerging field of palaeogenomics has been under-exploited in studying this temporal component of adaptation and speciation. Here we propose to take the field a further step forward by utilising palaeogenomics to bridge this gap, allowing multi-locus adaptation, speciation and multi-species adaptive radiation to be investigated along the evolutionary continuum, from inception to completion. Note that this proposed symposium forms a key contribution of the submitted ESEB Special Topic Network application: ADAPT – Ancient DNA studies of Adaptive Processes through Time.

Invited speaker: Gemma Murray "Natural selection shaped the rise and fall of passenger pigeon genomic diversity"

S44. Gene regulatory evolution in natural populations

Organizers: David Lowry, Mikhail Matz, Alexander Mikheyev, Claire Morandin

Despite major progress in developing a general understanding of gene regulation, its adaptive role in natural populations have only just recently begun to be evaluated. Characterization of gene expression variation across complex environments and genetic backgrounds poses major challenges and raises new conceptual issues that need to be addressed. Among those, the pervasive lack of understanding of individual gene functions in non-model organisms requires the analysis to be re-focused on broader gene regulation aspects, such as analyses of gene co-expression networks and genotype x environment interactions at a genome-wide scale. This symposium aims to identify major knowledge gaps in our understanding of gene regulatory evolution in natural populations and formulate best practices for integration with studies of adaptation, physiology, development, and behavior.

Invited speaker: Jenny Tung “Linking gene regulation to evolution and behavior in wild baboons”

S45. The evolution of complex traits and polygenic adaptation: where do we stand?

Organizers: Shannon Beston, Juliette de Meaux, Frédéric Guillaume, Matthew Walsh

Understanding the evolution of complex traits and their genetic underpinnings is a longstanding goal in evolutionary biology. Research over the past two decades has made substantial progress in determining how and why polygenic and complex traits evolve. It is now indisputable that adaptation proceeds from many mutations of diverse effect sizes which, in turn, dictates observed phenotypic variation in complex traits, such as complex organs, developmental switches, or stress tolerance. Yet, many questions remain unanswered. This is particularly true for the evolutionary drivers of complex traits, as well as the molecular mechanisms involved in adaptation. This symposium welcomes research that explores the evolution of complex traits (broadly defined) both within and across taxa in a variety of experimental and natural systems. The goal of this symposium is to invite researchers from a diversity of backgrounds employing contemporary technologies to summarize our current understanding of the evolution of complex traits and the determinants of phenotypic variation. This will include a union of scientists leveraging genomic approaches (i.e., QTL, genome wide associations) with researchers disentangling the biological effect of these modifications (plasticity, epistasis, pleiotropy, epigenetics) to better unravel the genotype-phenotype map of complex traits.

Invited speaker: Catherine Peichel “The architecture of adaptation: a master mutation or a mass of mutations?”

S46. Role of phenotypic plasticity in evolution: Where are we now?

Organizers: Cameron Ghalambor, Patricia Gibert

Over the past decades there has been a resurgence of interest in evaluating the role of phenotypic plasticity in micro- and macroevolution. This growing body of work has provided new insights on the complex relationship between the environment as both a cue that predictably alters the distribution of molecular, physiological, morphological, and behavioral phenotypes via plasticity, and as a source of selection acting on this variation. For example, the development of new theory has explored how plasticity, demography, and evolution interact when environments change. Molecular methods have provided new insights into how patterns of gene expression are altered by the environment, the expression. Lastly, field and common garden studies are challenging long-held assumptions on how the costs, benefits, and limits of plasticity influence evolutionary change.  These and other recent developments, make the timing of this symposium fitting to assess “where we are”. We will welcome speakers across a broad range of sub-disciplines who are asking the type of questions that are changing our views on the interplay between plasticity and evolution.

Invited speaker: Carl D. Schlichting “Reevaluating the role of phenotypic plasticity on evolution”

Sponsored by
GDR Plasticité phénotypique

S47. The theory of fitness landscapes: where is this path taking us?

Organizers: Claudia Bank, Alexandre Blanckaert, Inês Fragata

Fitness landscapes have developed from a mere illustration of the constraints and complexity of evolution into a theoretical concept that is ubiquitously studied across the natural sciences and across multiple levels of biological organization. Recent technological advances allow for the generation of experimental fitness landscapes, potentially transforming this previously theoretical field into a statistical tool for quantifying evolutionary processes and therefore calling for an assessment of the current theory. This symposium aims at connecting theoretical work in fitness landscapes from different fields, ranging from the molecular to the interspecific level. Such an integration will be essential for the successful evaluation and application of fitness landscape theory to experimental data in the future. Through this symposium we intend to (1) highlight the overlap between existing theoretical concepts across levels of biological observation and how we can connect them, (2) illustrate recent developments in fitness landscape theory in the different fields, and (3) determine future research directions to capture fitness landscape properties and categorize experimental fitness landscapes.

Invited speaker: Richard Goldstein « Neutral landscapes, sequence entropy, and the rate of amino acid substitutions »

S48. Epigenetics and adaptation

Organizers: Oliver Bossdorf, Martin Laporte, Jérémy Le Luyer, Koen Verhoeven

It has become clear that epigenetic mechanisms are often involved in organismal responses to the environment, and at the same time, that part of the epigenetic code is transgenerationally stable. However, the extent to which these two phenomena are linked and contribute to the adaptive capacity of natural populations remains unclear. So far, most knowledge about the determinants of epigenetic variation comes from studies of a few model species. However, high-resolution analysis methods are increasingly being adopted to investigate epigenetic variation also in non-model species and in natural environments. This rapidly broadens our knowledge of the patterns, causes and consequences of epigenetic variation in natural systems. In this session, we will provide an update of this research field, including studies on both plants and animals in the goal to better understand the stability of inherited epigenetic marks, the type of sequences affected in the genome, the effects of epigenetic variants on phenotypic variation, and the epigenetic mechanisms underlying phenotypic plasticity and adaptation.

Invited speaker: Christoph Grunau “Relative weight of genetic and epigenetic in adaptative evolution”

S49. The making and breaking of genetic constraints

Organizers: Max Reuter, Julia Saltz

Genetic correlations and trade-offs have long been hypothesised to slow and even prevent adaptive evolution. But almost forty years since the conceptualisation of multivariate adaptive responses, we still understand relatively little about where genetic correlations come from, and how they affect evolutionary change. When can genetic correlations break down, and how quickly? How are genetic correlations maintained despite phenotypic plasticity? Are genetic correlations a cause of evolution, or a product of evolution? The past few years have seen exciting new research in the field, exploiting new genomic and phenotypic approaches, as well as the use of powerful microbial systems to investigate the causes and consequences of genetic correlations. The aim of this symposium is to showcase these advances, and set the agenda for the next stages of research on this fundamental topic in evolutionary biology. Comparing, contrasting and integrating results from different systems and approaches will allow us to consolidate and share recent insights, while identifying unexplored and novel future directions.

Invited speaker: Lynda Delph “The making and breaking of genetic constraints – lessons from Silene”

S50. Evolvability: a unifying concept in evolutionary biology

Organizers: Thomas Hansen, Christophe Pelabon

In the short term, evolvability is a function of the standing genetic variation on which selection can act. On longer time scales, it depends on the ability of organisms to produce potentially beneficial variation through mutation, and thus on the structure of the genotype-phenotype map that determines how genomic variation is converted to phenotypic variation. For even longer time frames, evolvability may be linked to the ability of organisms to break developmental constraints, and evolve new character identities or evolutionary modes that can produce qualitatively new forms of variation. Although these different notions of evolvability generate some misunderstandings and confusion, the interest of different fields in the same topic marks it as a “trading zone” where researchers can exchange ideas and develop a common language. In this symposium, we want to bring together researchers from different field to present their research on evolvability in order to provoke discussion between the different field and work on a unifying understanding of evolvability as one of the central concept of the evolutionary theory.

Invited speaker: Mihaela Pavlicev “How well can we predict the trait`s selection response from the GP map?”

S51. Causes and Consequences of Recombination Rate Evolution

Organizers: Marie Cariou, Beth Dumont, Bret Payseur, Fanny Pouyet

Meiotic recombination plays fundamental roles in evolution and genetics. By controlling linkage between loci, recombination mediates the efficiency and effects of natural selection on both beneficial and deleterious mutations. Recombination shapes the evolution of DNA sequence composition via biased gene conversion and drives fluctuations in genealogical history along chromosomes. In many species, recombination also ensures the correct segregation of homologous chromosomes at meiosis and is essential for the maintenance of genome integrity. Despite its central biological significance, recombination rate varies among individuals, between species, and across genomes. Our symposium will highlight recent discoveries about the causes and consequences of variation in recombination rates. We intend to showcase research that cuts across genomic and evolutionary scales - from recombination hotspots to whole genomes, and from individuals to clades. We expect our symposium will unite the perspectives of empiricists and theoreticians whose work on recombination rate evolution remains disconnected.

Invited speaker: Mohamed Noor “Is recombination rate locally adapted in Drosophila pseudoobscura?”

S52. New directions in sex chromosome evolution

Organizers: Jessica Abbot, Bengt Hansson, Daniel Jeffries, Paul Saunders

Over a century of research on sex chromosomes and sex determination evolution has given us some of the most iconic models in evolutionary biology. While many major discoveries in this field have relied on the study of a few model organisms, the recent explosion of new genomic technologies has enabled the expansion of the field to a plethora of new non-model organisms, revealing that they do not all fit predictions from canonical models. This increase in the taxonomic breadth of data will undoubtedly produce results requiring new theory for consolidation. However when generating new theoretical models we must account for the ecology of the systems studied, an area that has received little attention in the past. With this new-found accessibility to data from non-model species, and with all the new approaches at our disposal, now is the perfect time to bring together researchers in the field to share ideas and approaches for the future. The aim of this symposium is therefore to marry research on both model and non-model organisms, using genomic techniques, manipulative experiments or developmental approaches and to highlight studies at the interface between ecology and evolution.

Invited speaker: Beatriz Vicoso “Sex chromosome conservation and turnover in insects”

S53. Evolution of reproductive systems

Organizers: Tanja Schwander, Casper van der Kooi

One of the most fundamental characteristics of living organisms is their ability to reproduce. Behind this universal property hides a tremendous diversity in reproductive systems, including “normal” sexual reproduction, self-fertilisation, male or female asexuality and systems involving (partial) genome elimination. The factors that drive and maintain this diversity have remained largely unsolved for several decades. However, over the past years considerable progress has been made in our understanding of the causes and consequences of reproductive system evolution. This progress is partly owing to new molecular, genomic and bioinformatics tools, development of large species databases and experimental field and laboratory studies. The objective of this symposium is to bring together leaders in the field that use theoretical, analytical and experimental approaches to problems in our understanding of reproductive system evolution. We invite contributions on any aspect of reproductive system evolution. Speakers will include empirical researchers and theoreticians working on a large panel of organisms, including e.g. plants and animals, in order to foster the exchange of evolutionary concepts, methods and approaches. We are convinced that this combination of different research fields and approaches will allow for progress towards a better understanding of the evolution and maintenance of different reproductive systems.

Invited speaker: Stephen I. Wright “Parental genomic legacy of mating system shifts in polyploid genome evolution in Capsella bursa-pastoris”

S54. Fitness Effects of mutations

Organizers: Charles Fenster, Courtney J. Murren

Mutation is “the ultimate source of new variation” on which other evolutionary mechanisms may act. The nature and properties of mutation influence disease phenotypes, estimates of molecular clocks, prediction of population trajectories, and the degree to which populations can respond to natural or artificial selection. Emerging data suggest that mutation rates are not static, rather vary by species, population, across areas of a chromosome, as well as temporally. In addition, in some systems somatic mutation may contribute to ecologically important genetic variation. Furthermore, there are also new data on the distribution of mutational effects on phenotypes, enhancing our ability to predict mutational effects on fitness. New technologies allow us to detect mutation at unprecedented speed and combined with experimental approaches (e.g. mutation accumulation studies, mutagenesis studies) to assess fitness across ecologically relevant environments, we are at an exciting time in mutation study where established labs and early career scientists are actively engaged. In this symposium we aim to bring together scholars tackling these questions from molecular, field, computational, theoretical and experimental approaches.

Invited speaker: Ruth G. Shaw “Fitness effects of mutations: setting the stage for evolutionary change”

S55. Ecological and evolutionary genomics of polyploidy

Organizers: Malika Ainouche, Olivier Panaud

Whole genome duplication (i.e. polyploidy) appears as a central process generating biodiversity and adaptation. The last decade has seen tremendous progress in deciphering large, complex plant and animal genomes, providing an unprecedented opportunity to perform comparative analyses and to decipher the impact of polyploid genome dynamics on phenotypic evolution. Understanding the genetic and genomic consequences of genome duplication on physiology, development, species evolution and ecology represents critical challenges of the post-genomic era. This symposium aims at promoting knowledge exchanges and discussion on the developments made in the recent years to expand the perspective of our understanding to various evolutionary time scales (i.e. neo-polyploids, stabilized polyploids that share paleoduplication events) and to both natural systems of ecological interests and domesticated systems of economic importance, thus filling an important gap in the knowledge of genomic determinants of phenotypic novelties that allow species expansion, adaptation and domestication.

Invited speaker: Jonathan Wendel “The wondrous cycles of polyploidy in plants”

S56. Manifestation and resolution of sexual conflict

Organizers: Katie Peichel, Alison Wright

Males and females are often subject to contrasting selection pressures, which can generate significant amounts of sexual conflict when traits have a shared genetic basis between the sexes. Sexual conflict has the potential to substantially increase standing genetic diversity in populations and thereby act as an important force in adaptation. However, the causes of sexual conflict, and the mechanisms by which it can be resolved, remain hotly debated. Recent studies have begun to combine phenotypic studies, population genetic methods, and genome wide sequence data to identify targets of sexual conflict. Now is a pertinent time to: i) synthesize the population genetic signatures arising from sexual conflict, and how they vary according to the type of sexual conflict; ii) highlight our understanding of the consequences of conflict; including the role of balancing selection in maintaining population genetic diversity; and iii) develop a cohesive understanding of the potential genomic mechanisms leading to the resolution of sexual conflict, including the relative roles of gene expression, alternative splicing, imprinting and sex-linkage.

Invited speaker: Craig Primmer “Sex dependent dominance in a large effect locus for age at maturity: empirical evidence for a contribution to sexual conflict resolution in Atlantic salmon?”

S57. Modes of inheritance and genomic conflicts

Organizers: Arvid Ågren, Hanna Johannesson

Genomic conflicts arise when fitness optima of genomic elements - genes, chromosomes, organellar or nuclear genomes - do not align. A key factor determining the degree to which selective regimes may diverge is the mode of inheritance, i.e., how genomic elements are transmitted from parent to offspring. For example, deviation from Mendelian inheritance allows the spread of selfish genetic elements such as meiotic drivers, and the uniparental inheritance of mitochondrial genes creates the potential for conflict with biparentally inherited nuclear genes. Recent work in plants, animals, and fungi has revealed a key role for mode of inheritance in the proliferation of various kinds of selfish genetic elements and other examples of genomic conflicts. However, these examples are rarely discussed together. Moreover, how mode of inheritance interacts with other factors affecting the evolutionary dynamics of selfish genetic elements, such as effective population size and evolution of suppressor genes, remains unclear. A better understanding of natural systems is also crucial for the successful engineering of gene drive systems for population control. This symposium will bring together researchers studying these diverse systems to stimulate interactions and seek general principles underlying the causes, consequences, and ethical implications of natural and engineered selfish genetic elements.

Invited speaker: Lila Fishman “Chromosome gone wild: the consequences of centromere-associated drive in Mimulus”

S58. Causes of maladaptation: environmental change, demography, inbreeding and genetic constraints

Organizers: Steven Brady, Daniel Bolnick, Anne-Laure Ferchaud, Charles Perrier

Evolutionists seek to understand how populations adapt to environmental change and to predict the consequences. Selection that lags the pace of environmental change and inbreeding resulting from habitat loss and fragmentation both act to diminish the degree to which populations are adapted to their environments. Genetic drift in smaller populations also acts to constrain responses to positive and purifying selection. This will tend to increase the fixation of deleterious alleles, reducing population-wide fitness. These non-adaptive forces could eventually overwhelm adaptive ones, limiting adaptive potential of populations. Advances in genomics now empower us to detect and map adaptive and mal-adaptive variation across the genome. We welcome theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions that: (1) assess mal-adaptation and accumulated genetic load; (2) examine the role of inbreeding and other demographic processes in maladaptation; (3) describe the genetic causes of mal-adaptation including the effects of dominance, linkage and identity disequilibria, epistasis, and gene flow; (4) enhance theory on the extent of genetic change needed to rapidly adapt to rapidly changing environments, and (5) evaluate opportunities for genetic rescue versus the risk of extinction.

Invited speaker: Andrew Hendry “Maladaptation reconsidered”

S59. Towards a unified biology of populations: Integrating ecology, evolution and demography

Organizers: Ron Bassar, Timothée Bonnet, Erik Postma, Matthew Wolak

Individual variation in fitness is the outcome of a complex and dynamic interplay of genes, the environment and chance, and provides the raw material for natural selection. The concept of fitness is hence central to evolutionary biology in general, and to understanding the individual- and population-level consequences of environmental change in particular. Although fitness appears in the fundamental equations of both evolutionary genetics and population dynamics, attempts to predict changes in individual fitness and project these onto population growth rates are often unsuccessful. Indeed, such attempts to integrate evolution and demography face several major theoretical and empirical challenges. First, we lack a quantitative and comprehensive understanding of the role of both adaptive and non-adaptive evolution, phenotypic plasticity, and age/stage structure in shaping trait distributions in space and time. Furthermore, existing methods are poorly equipped to deal with the complexities inherent to most natural populations, including environmental change and degradation, frequency- and density-dependence, and the ‘hardness’ of selection. This symposium will assemble researchers that take innovative theoretical and empirical approaches to address the above challenges to bring us closer to the ultimate aim of a unification of evolutionary and population dynamics.

Invited speaker: Joseph Travis “The ecology of density-dependent selection”

S60. Evolutionary rescue

Organizers: Richard Gomulkiewicz, Ruth Hufbauer, Ane Marlene Myhre, Joost Raeymaekers

Adaptive evolution and its limits are central to evolutionary biology. Extinction—evolution’s ultimate limit—is a particularly pressing concern in this era of global change. Evolutionary rescue is adaptation to unfavorable changes in the environment that decrease population growth rate, preventing imminent extinction. Considerable research on evolutionary rescue has greatly advanced our understanding of the conditions under which adaptive evolution can prevent extinction. This symposium will bring together an international group of scientists who have been developing some of the most exciting empirical and theoretical advances that are emerging in this rapidly developing field. These advances include empirical evidence from wild populations, understanding the roles of non-adaptive evolutionary processes and the roles played by genome structure and genetic interactions, as well as elucidating how adaptive evolution can affect the course of decline when a population fails to avoid extinction. The topic of this symposium lies firmly at the intersection between evolution and ecology, and has substantial importance for both basic and applied evolutionary biology.

Invited speaker: Stephanie Carlson “Evolutionary rescue in nature - case closed or jury still out?”

S61. The Evolution of Community Ecology

Organizers: Lynn Govaert, Mark C.Urban

Community ecologists seek a mechanistic understanding of the dynamics of multispecies interactions to understand and predict patterns of diversity. Although some progress has occurred, ecologists are often surprised by community responses and still are searching to explain other patterns. Some ecologists have suggested that this search for general understanding is futile – perhaps all of community ecology is context dependent. Yet, what if some context dependence originates from dynamics of a different kind: evolutionary dynamics? Here, we highlight new and emerging views on how evolution shapes community ecology. Increasingly, evidence suggests that evolution can occur at the same temporal and spatial scales as ecological dynamics operate. Therefore, the opportunity exists for evolution to alter ecological dynamics in myriad ways. Through a range of speakers spanning theory and empirical work, countries, and career stages, we will develop a greater understanding of when and where an understanding of evolution is needed to explain community ecology. Theory and empirical evidence suggest that adaptation can alter community composition, diversity, and ecosystem processes and dampen or exaggerate existing ecological dynamics in space and time. Understanding these eco-evolutionary dynamics could provide the means to explain and predict changes to biodiversity elicited by natural and anthropogenic changes.

Invited speaker: Mark McPeek “The ecological dynamics of natural selection that differentiates consumers and resources (or why ecologists and evolutionists need to talk to each other more)”

S62. Experimental evolution in the context of ecosystems

Organizers: Sijmen Schoustra, Mark Zwart

In natural systems species evolve as part of communities that form eco-systems. However, classical experimental approaches to study evolution commonly use simplified laboratory approaches with few starting genotypes and standard laboratory growth media. In recent years, various attempts have been made to expand experimental evolution research to include more complex microbial communities and more complex environments. The availability of low-cost DNA based tools to characterize microbial community composition and its changes have aided this development. This expanded approach allows to test not only general evolutionary questions such as the dynamics and repeatability of adaptation, it also enables experimental testing of theory inspired from community ecology and evolution. It is thus timely to organize a symposium within the 2018 joint meeting to highlight examples of experimental and theoretical studies that look at the evolutionary dynamics of species within (microbial) ecosystems over space and time. Contributions could include experimental and supporting theoretical studies on the evolutionary response to various stresses, the evolution of social interaction between microbes, and long-term co-evolutionary studies between different (sets of) species.

Invited speaker: Jeff Gore “Building microbial communities from the bottom up”

S63. Evolution in an urbanizing world

Organizers: Anne Charmantier, Adrien Frantz, Julien Gasparini, Marc Johnson

Cities are rapidly expanding environments with original combinations of abiotic, biotic, and human social factors. The replication and global distribution of cities offer a unique opportunity to investigate how environmental changes affect phenotypic (morphological, physiological, behavioural, and life history) and genomic evolution. In particular, it is crucial to determine whether divergence in phenotypes across urbanization gradients is the expression of either ecotypes adapted to urban conditions, phenotypic plasticity, or non-adaptive evolution. Recent projects have provided a small but growing number of spectacular cases of rapid evolution and local adaptation to the urban environment, and have also revealed a promising potential to address eco-evolutionary dynamics in this context. They have finally provided unique scope to integrate evolutionary ecology in a conservation context. In the last five years, the field of urban evolution has budded from the strongly established field of urban ecology, and blossomed into a vibrant and dynamic multi-disciplinary area of study. This symposium offers to synthesize results from this burgeoning field, and simultaneously bridge biological conservation, ecosystem function, ecological genomics and behavioural ecology. We particularly encourage submissions of abstracts that create bridges between these fields in all taxa, approaches and spatio-temporal scales.

Invited speaker: Marta Szulkin “Wild vertebrate phenotypic and fitness clines in replicated urbanisation gradients”

S64. Rapid Evolutionary Responses to Global Change

Organizers: Moises Exposito-Alonso, Carol Eunmi Lee, Thorsten Reusch, Johannes Scheepens, François Vasseur

Global climate change ranks among the greatest threats facing humanity, and evolutionary responses will be most certainly needed for many species to avoid extinction. While there is mounting evidence for species responses to global change, we still lack the ability to predict whether and the extent to which populations could respond to this change. This Symposium attempts to consolidate state-of-the-art knowledge on evolutionary responses and enhance our capacity to make predictions about adaptation and extinction to global change. Specifically, we need to increase our understanding of what role evolutionary processes play in species range shifts, what types and number of genetic mutations are most likely to be adaptive, or what is the importance of genetic adaptive evolution vs phenotypic plasticity. These questions need to be explored in a variety of biotic and abiotic stresses as they might have dramatically different natures, namely temperature rises, severe droughts, acidification and salinity decline of the seas, or new pests. We invite work on wild populations, experimental evolution, quantitative genetic experiments, and theoretical population genetic models, and we encourage participants to discuss from such diverse angles the question of rapid evolution and adaptation. We plan to use this symposium as a launching point to integrate knowledge across disciplines and stimulate discussion on areas that require further investigation, so that we could gain fundamental insights.

Invited speaker: Dmitri Petrov « Population Genomics of Rapid Adaptation »

S65. Domestication: human-induced evolution

Organizers: Allowen Evin, Laurent Frantz, Greger Larson

This symposium will highlight the latest contributions from genomic, morphometric, and archaeology to the field of animal and plant domestication. Strong artificial selection during domestication and breeding has resulted in rapid evolution that has rarely been observed in wild populations. As such, the domestication of plants and animals can be seen as an on-going evolutionary experiment. Over the past two decades, methodological advances in numerous fields have generated datasets with unprecedented resolution. Despite this substantial increase in power, many aspects of domestication remain poorly understood. This is especially true for the genetic architecture of fast evolving traits in domestic populations. Multidisciplinary approaches are now able to combine these rich genomic and morphometric datasets from modern and archeological specimens. As a result, it is now possible to directly observe fundamental evolutionary patterns and processes through time, an objective that was unobtainable as recently as a decade ago. The study of domestication is multidisciplinary by nature and concerns many fields of evolutionary biology and therefore will be of interest to researchers of all four societies involved in the congress. As organizers of the symposium we will do our best to bring together people with different perspectives on domestication.

Invited speaker: Maud Tenaillon “How the evolutionary forces shape the genetic variation of domestic plant genomes?”

S66. Celebrating 10 years of Evolutionary Applications and a look to the future

Organizers: Louis Bernatchez, Britt Koskella

Until a decade ago, concepts from evolutionary biology were rarely applied to fields of applied relevance, such as medicine, food production and environmental health. This is despite some notable contributions highlighting the importance of human-driven evolutionary change and their consequences. In 2008, however, two important publications appeared that voiced the importance of evolution to practical issues and with this paced the way to establish a new journal. The new journal was named ‘Evolutionary Applications’ and it became the first and only peer reviewed (open access) journal providing a top tier outlet for research studies pertaining to applied evolution. Since then, an ever expanding number of studies have been published in this journal, and elsewhere, and have contributed to firmly establish the field of applied evolution as a relevant discipline that can no longer be ignored in human affairs. This symposium will celebrate and showcase the past 10 years of Evolutionary Applications by conveying some of the most active researchers in this field. We will present a broad array of both empirical and theoretical research across wide range of taxonomic groups to address pressing issues pertaining to human health, food security, global change, ecosystem functioning and the conservation of biodiversity.

Invited speaker: Frédéric Thomas “Evolutionary cancerology: Where are we and where should we go?”

Sponsored by

S67. Evolution-smart agriculture: breeding and protection

Organizers: Kevin Carolan, Jérôme Enjalbert, Isabelle Goldringer, Nichola Hawkins

Domestication and breeding of crops and livestock are key examples of evolutionary processes, stimulating research on genetics and mechanisms of adaptation. However, agricultural practices can also exert unintended selection on pests and pathogens of crops and livestock, producing ‘superpests’ able to overcome control measures such as resistance breeding or chemical control. Awareness is now growing of the importance of diversity within agricultural systems, maintaining adaptive potential in crop and livestock populations to provide resilience to future challenges and developing more durable crop protection and disease control strategies avoiding over-reliance on a single chemical or gene. Evolutionary theory and experimental data are needed to proactively manage the evolution of pest, pathogen and weed populations, comparing strategies such as mixing or alternating chemistries; stacks or mosaics of resistance genes; and integrated pest management. Similarly, evolutionary breeding employs genetically heterogeneous populations of crops or livestock rather than a single monoculture, drawing on principles of group selection, evolution of life history traits, kin selection, or evolution of plant to plant interactions, to design optimal genotype or species mixtures. We welcome submissions on any aspects of evolutionary and participatory breeding, and/or the evolution of pests and other non-target species in the agroecosystem.

Invited speaker: Alexey Mikaberidze “Managing adaptation of crop pathogens to chemical and genetic control measures: insights from population modelling and field data”

S68. The ecology and evolution of cancer

Organizers: Frédéric Thomas, Beata Ujvari

Although the congruence between the theory of cancer initiation and progression and evolutionary and ecological concepts are increasingly accepted, this area of research is still in its infancy. Applying evolutionary ecology to oncology is particularly crucial because treatment strategies have so far not lived up to expectations. Auspiciously, an increasing number of scientists and clinicians are now actively involved in pursuing interdisciplinary research and apply an evolutionary ecology view to cancer emergence and progression. This scientific community capitalizes on a panel of specialists using different, yet complementary approaches to cancer: mathematics, ecology, cell and evolutionary biology, and clinical research. This interdisciplinary field of study is also now moving beyond its descriptive phase and into the new dimensions of applying the theoretical understanding of cancer adaptations to treatment and prevention. Apart from cancer being a problem of humanity, it also has, a so far largely underestimated but significant impact on ecosystem functioning.  Similar to humans, benign and malignant tumors are frequent in animals and prior to eventually causing death, cancer is likely to influence the organisms’ fitness by reducing competitive abilities, increasing susceptibility to pathogens and vulnerability to predation. For all these reasons we feel that it is timely to provide an up-to-date, authoritative and challenging symposium on the topic of Ecology, Evolution and Cancer.

Invited speaker: Robert Gatenby “Integrating evolutionary principles into cancer therapy”

S69. Evolutionary Physiology

Organizers: Mathieu Buoro, Jacques Labonne, Matthew MacManes, Sylvie Oddou-Muratorio

Evolutionary physiology, or the study of an animal’s or plant’s physiological processes within an integrative evolutionary, ecological, or comparative framework has grown in popularity over the past several years. Particularly in the light of adaptation, understanding how organisms respond to their ever-changing biotic or abiotic environments, by altering physiological processes, is foundational yet often an overlooked discipline within evolutionary biology.  This symposium aims to bring together a group of researchers interested in physiology across a wide variety of scales (e.g., from individual organisms to communities, including the exploration of feedback mechanisms between the two levels), physiological systems (e.g., neuro, endocrine, pulmonary, metabolic, photosynthetic), and approaches (e.g., modeling, genomic, molecular, population-level, field-based).  This symposium will promote discussion and collaboration with symposium participants and the audience members, allowing for the formation of a deep and synergistic understanding of the mechanisms that underlie physiological responses to our changing world. This is particularly timely, as newer methodological approaches, including high-throughput phenotyping is becoming more commonplace, and as evolutionary biology faces the great challenge of producing operational predictions about biodiversity dynamics in a context of rapid environmental and climatic change.

Invited speaker: Lauren O'Connell “Pick your poison: the physiology of toxin sequestration in poison frogs”

S70. Floral evolution: breeding systems, pollinators, and beyond

Organizers: Johanne Brunet, Diane Byers, Eric Imbert, Yuval Sapir, Jürg Schönenberger, Yannick M. Staedler

Pollinator-mediated selection is the major paradigm dominating the theory of floral evolution. It has been proposed as the major force directing floral trait evolution, from flower colour to phenology and floral shape. But some recent studies have raised questions about the relative importance of pollinators as selective agents on floral traits. Herbivores and abiotic stresses may counterbalance and mask pollinator-mediated selection. In addition, a plant breeding system can affect pollinator attraction and impact floral evolution. These processes can all be influenced by anthropogenic changes such as habitat loss and global warming. Finally, the genetic architecture of floral traits may constrain floral evolution and despite the major impact of floral shape on plant reproductive success, the quantitative exploration of floral shape, its evolution and diversity, and its molecular basis have received little attention. In this symposium, we intend to broaden the scope of pollination ecology in order to enhance our ability to detect the evolutionary consequences of plant-pollinator interactions. We propose to bring together new and exciting studies that shed light on evolutionary processes that shape flowers and reproductive organs in plants. Emphasis will be given to factors beyond pollination and factors that interact with pollination, from co-acting selective agents to the genetic basis of floral traits. The proposed symposium will emphasize the multifaceted process of natural selection and reexamine established paradigms in the light of new findings.

Invited speaker: Nina Sletvold “The context-dependence of pollinator-mediated selection”

S71. Human evolutionary biology

Organizers: Ruth Mace, Michel Raymond

Human evolutionary biology consists of using the theoretical and practical tools and advances of evolutionary biology, in order to understand human adaptations, either genetic or cultural. Human evolutionary biology thereby provides a general framework to explain human behaviour. Several aspects of human behaviour are subject to recent breakthroughs, such as cognition, local adaptation, and the evolution of culture, of life-history traits, and of social organization. In addition, the recent progress of human genomics and population genetics have brought new insight to human evolution. Bringing together these forefront thematics into the same symposium will benefit cross-field interaction and motivate multidisciplinary approaches to the evolutionary knowledge of the human species.

Invited speaker: Andrea Miglinao “Hunter-gatherers social structure: a window into the evolution of human cumulative culture”

S72. Virus Evolution

Organizers: Lucie Etienne, Gonzalo Moratorio

Our main goal is to cover the evolutionary biology of the fastest evolvers on earth, viruses. Viruses infect every taxonomic kingdom, demonstrating their long history of virus-host interactions and effective capacity to adapt to new environments. Viral adaptation has direct implications for antiviral resistance, immune escape, and host/tissue tropism. Most recently, viruses have become a model to experimentally study evolutionary mechanisms/trajectories in ¨real-time¨, mainly due to the application of deep-sequencing. Here, we aim at addressing key concepts in Evolution: fitness landscapes, selection processes, bottleneck effects, genetic/antigenic drifts, Red Queen hypothesis.

Invited speaker: Nels Elde “Evolution of large DNA viruses: The secrets of gene thieves”

Sponsored by
Journal of General Virology, Labex Ecofect & Société Française de Virologie

S73. Exploring life history evolution across multiple scales

Organizers: Christoph Haag, Kevin Healy, Tom Reed, Robin Waples

Life history evolution is of fundamental importance for topics ranging from understanding of macroevolutionary patterns to the ability to predict species responses to global anthropogenic change. However, our ability to understand the central processes driving life history evolution requires an equally diverse range of approaches and scales, ranging from experimental manipulation of genes to comparative analysis across taxa. This symposium will aim to gather leading experts in the field of life history evolution, with a particular focus on combining expertise across empirical, experimental, comparative and theoretical approaches. It will explore our understanding of life history evolution across different temporal, spatial and taxonomic scales, and identify gaps that can be best addressed by collaboration across research approaches. The symposium will also explore the potential to develop more predictive frameworks relating to life history evolution in our rapidly changing world. We believe that this joint congress is the perfect venue to bring together leading experts in life history that range from applied to macroecological approaches.

Invited speaker: Robert Ricklefs “Evolution across the slow-fast continuum in avian life histories”

S74. Understanding mate preferences and mating systems: from genetics to behavior

Organizers: Natasha Bloch, Iulia Darolti

As a critical component of speciation and sexual selection, mating behavior has long been an area of study in evolutionary biology. In an attempt to investigate its mechanisms, we have gained abundant insight into the sensory, neural and physiological processes behind mating behavior. With the advent of increasingly refined tools and their application to many diverse organisms, we now have a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the evolution of mate preference, mating behavior and more generally sexual selection. This symposium will integrate what we have learned about the various components of mating behavior, including sensory systems, mate preferences as well as mating systems and reproductive behavior. Our goals are to (i) highlight recent studies from diverse fields and organisms, with an emphasis on genetic and genomic approaches, in order to provide a synthetic understanding of the evolution of mate preference and mating behavior; and to (ii) provide a platform to generate a roadmap for future research in these areas.

Invited speaker: Molly E. Cummings “The neurogenomics of mate preference and the cognition connection”

S75. Public communication? Don’t shout...SCREAM (Science Communication Research Empowers AMazing) outreach

Organizers: Olaf Bininda-Emonds, Xana Sá-Pinto, Jory Weintraub

Public scientific literacy represents an essential ingredient for helping solve today’s societal problems and to foster sustainable development into the future. A scientifically literate public will also be more aware of the importance of scientific research and supportive of public funding of science. However, research shows a pervasive lack of public science understanding, even in some highly developed countries. This is particularly true for evolution, with this lack of understanding often fostering rejection of the concept as a whole. But “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” and evolution understanding is fundamental for people to make informed decisions about biologically relevant issues that impact their health and well-being. This highlights the importance of promoting evolution outreach projects. But how can we grab the public’s attention to foster evolution understanding? What factors affect the success of public outreach projects? During this symposium, participants will be presented with interesting examples of evolution outreach projects to learn about factors that are key to successful communication with the public. With this, we aim to inspire and empower evolutionary researchers to create their own outreach projects to contribute to public knowledge on evolution and public support for their research area.

Invited speaker: Carole Jahme “Do's and Don'ts in evolution communication.”

S76. Evolutionary management of wild populations

Organizers: Didier Aurelle, Bruno Fady

Through the direct and indirect effects of human activities, global change is a major threat for biodiversity and for the associated ecosystem services. This is also an important evolutionary challenge for many species with several potential responses: acclimation, genetic adaptation, range shift, local or global extinction. Adequate management of biodiversity should take into account the main evolutionary factors acting on these responses such as connectivity, drift, local selection. The study of these processes is now strengthened by the integration of analytical and genomic approaches (e.g. for biodiversity surveys or for adaptation studies). This symposium will discuss why and how evolution can and should be integrated into management and conservation practice. It will be opened to different species and ecosystems (both terrestrial and marine), with a focus on wild populations, exploited or not. The interaction with socio-economic processes will also be discussed, with the goal or making common and idiosyncratic patterns emerge across biomes. Empirical and theoretical communications are welcome.

Invited speaker: Sean Hoban “Why and how to use computational simulations for evolutionary based management”

S77. The evolution of cognition: the interplay of individual and environmental factors

Organizers: Laure Cauchard, Blandine Doligez

Cognition plays a major role in the ability of individuals to cope with environmental changes, including those generated by human activities. How selective pressures act on cognitive traits in the wild and shape their evolution nevertheless remains poorly understood so far. Both individual, non-cognitive, traits and environmental factors can partly explain inter-individual variations in cognition, but how do these factors work together to shape the evolutionary potential of cognitive traits? In this symposium, we will explore the individual (behavioral, physiological, neurological, ontogenic, genetic) and environmental (social, natural and human-induced) causes of inter- and intra-individual variation in cognitive traits, how they interact and relate to proximate and ultimate factors shaping selective pressures on cognitive traits. Using tools from behavioural and evolutionary frameworks on diverse study models, we aim at focusing on studies based on innovative approaches for the study of cognition in the wild, including cross-sectional and longitudinal empirical studies, neuroecological and developmental studies and field experiments, to ask whether and when we should expect non-cognitive individual and environmental factors to interact and determine the occurrence and maintenance of variations in cognitive traits in wild populations.

Invited speaker: Alexis Chaine “The evolution of cognition: agents of selection, fitness landscapes, and altitudinal effects on learning and flexibility”

S78. Open symposium

Organizers: Pierre-Olivier Cheptou, Nicolas Galtier, Thomas Lenormand, Carole Smadja, Céline Teplitsky

This symposium welcomes any conceptual, empirical or methodological contribution relevant to the study of biological evolution on topics not covered by the thematic symposia. We aim at open-minded discussions of novel or classical aspects of evolutionary biology, its interface to other scientific fields, and its applications to, e.g., environmental or medical sciences.