"How to Build a Whale: Mechanisms of Macroevolutionary Change"

Life on Earth is staggeringly diverse in form and function — how did all this diversity arise from a common ancestor? How did novel structures such as eyes, limbs, wings and flowers, appear? How can you make a whale from a four-legged mammal?! This talk describes the mechanisms of macroevolutionary change and explores how new discoveries about development and gene regulation are changing the way we understand evolution and the diversity of life.

Dr. Monika Havelka completed her MSc and PhD in Zoology at the University of Western Ontario studying the evolution of life history patterns in small mammals, and has been a faculty member at UTM since 2003. She has taught courses in evolutionary biology, comparative physiology, biostatistics, ecology, organismal diversity, landscape ecology, mammalian biology and environmental science. Her current student projects focus on the spatial ecology of small mammals in urban and fragmented landscapes. Last year she was a finalist in TVO’s Best Lecturer competition. When not in the field or in the classroom, she can usually be found on the back of her horse.

Monika Recommends:

* Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish. A lively and delightful evolutionary guide to the human body. Shubin’s enthusiasm for the subject jumps off the page.
* Science Daily. A compendium of breaking research news items from a variety of disciplines written with clarity, brevity and accuracy. Each item contains terrific links to related subjects – it’s a very worthwhile time-vampire!
* Encyclopedia of Life A great way to start exploring biodiversity.

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