Detail of a lamprey, the jawless fish on which Dr. Mederios does research.
Development is the process by which single-celled zygotes become multicellular animals. Alternations in the developmental program that occur spontaneously during evolution can lead to dramatic differences in adult form. When these alterations are beneficial, they become fixed in a population and can lead to the rapid appearance of new groups. The new field of Evolutionary Developmental Biology (Evo Devo) seeks to understand how new animal groups arise by understanding how the process of development has evolved in different lineages.
Dr. Medeiros will be presenting an introduction to the field of Evo Devo and discussing several compelling examples of how relatively simple changes in developmental processes have lead to the evolution of new structures such as the vertebrate skull, bat wings, and the snake spine.