The last EuroEvoDevo was held in 2019. After a pandemic delay, the organizers of the 8th EuroEvoDevo 2022 were finally able to invite its participants to gather in person at Naples, Italy (May 31-June 3nd, 2022). The KLI was present as both a sponsor of the conference and as attendees, with fellows and faculty giving presentations on the historical and philosophical aspects of evo-devo.
External faculty Laura Nuño de la Rosa reviewed the history of evolvability in her co-organized session "What have we learnt from 30 years of study on evolvability." KLI president Gerd Müller and scientific advisory board member Manfred Laubichler also chaired a session on the history of evo-devo ("Institutional cradles of Evo-Devo"), wherein Gerd talked about the Vivarium ("The Biologische Versuchsanstalt in Vienna and its Significance for Evo-Devo").
Taking a philosophical perspective, KLI fellow Cristina Villegas gave a talk on "Variational Tendencies: Development as an Ultimate Cause" in a session on evolvability (also co-organized by Nuño de la Rosa). Finally, KLI fellow Luis Aejandro Villanueva had a poster on "Social affordances and musical practices: An Evo-Devo approach to cultural evolution."
"After all the postponements and obstacles for holding an in person conference, this feels like a family reunion!" remarked Müller, the outgoing president of the EuroEvoDevo Society. EuroEvoDevo is the largest meeting on evo-devo, with a counterpart in the Americas (EvoDevo PanAm). With the pandemic still ongoing, the organizers took care to minimize risk and many of the participants stayed masked. Now that we can once again exchange ideas in person, the KLI looks forward to the next stage of evo-devo research facilitated by these meetings, with stronger links between conceptual, theoretical, historical, and empirical work.
Many thanks to Cristina Villegas for her report and input.