Brown Bag Lectures are informal, public talks that are followed by extensive dissussions. Speakers are KLI fellows or visiting researchers who are interested in presenting their work to an interdisciplinary audience and discussing it in a wider research context. The Brown Bag Lecture series was discontinued in 2014 with the KLI moving to its new premises in Klosterneuburg. In 2014 the KLI Colloquia were established as the new lecture series.
In this short presentation, Abouheif lays the foundation for a Theory of Mesoevolution. Parallelism, a form of independent evolution, is the basis of this theory in that it represents a special phase in evolution that lies between homology and convergence and between micro and macroevolution. This special phase is driven by particular evolutionary and developmental mechanisms that include the recruitment of genes of major effect and their modular networks, as well as developmental plasticity. The major implication of this theory is that time, in all its vastness, is a necessary but not sufficient factor to explain organismal diversity on earth. Instead, this theory predicts that the transitions between Micro&Meso and Meso&Macroevolution are the key for understanding the organismal diversity and the discontinuous nature of micro and macroevolution.
Ehab Abouheif is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Developmental Biology. He studied biology at Concordia University, Montreal (BSc, 1993), at SUNY, Stony Brook, NY, and at Duke University, Durham, NC. He was a post-doc in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago (2002-03) and in the Department of Integrative Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Berkeley (2003-04); Nipam Patel was his supervisor both in Chicago and Berkeley. From 2004 to 2010 he was Assistant Professor at McGill.