Charles Darwin Scholars to illuminate rapid evolution

07-Jun-2016

Emeritus professors Peter and Rosemary Grant will co-present the Charles Darwin Oration in Darwin on June 9 and Alice Springs on June 27.

Emeritus professors Peter and Rosemary Grant will co-present the Charles Darwin Oration in Darwin on June 9 and Alice Springs on June 27.


Husband and wife scientists emeritus professors Peter and Rosemary Grant will present a public lecture at Charles Darwin University’s Casuarina campus this Thursday evening.

The Princeton University evolutionary biologists are in the Northern Territory for the month of June as part of their appointment as CDU’s 2016 Charles Darwin Scholars.

They will present evidence that evolutionary change can be observed within a human lifetime, a claim they base on findings from their 40 years of ground-breaking research on “Darwin’s Finches” on the Galapagos Islands.

“One of the key scientific achievements of our careers has been to reveal just how fast evolution can occur in a natural system unaffected by humans,” Professor Peter Grant said.

“The fields of genetics, behaviour and ecology since Darwin’s time have done much to illuminate how and why species evolve.

“We will discuss the progress that has been made in our understanding of speciation with reference to the young radiation of Darwin’s Finches, combined with laboratory investigations of the molecular genetic basis of beak development.”

The Grants, known internationally for demonstrating rapid evolution in response to changes in food supply, will also be involved in the production of new content based on their work for CDU’s MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), “Charles Darwin, Evolution and Tropical Australia”.

This free public MOOC, introduced by Chris Darwin, great grandson of Charles Darwin, will be available from June 24.

Charles Darwin Oration

Darwin:

Thursday June 9, 5.30pm – 7.30pm in the University Theatre, Orange 3, Casuarina campus

Alice Springs:

Monday June 27, 5.30pm – 7.30pm in the Higher Education Lecture Theatre, Building 15, Alice Springs campus. RSVP June 23, cduevents@cdu.edu.au

The MOOC is available at W: cdu.edu.au/moocs/evolution

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