KLI Colloquia 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. We offer three types of talks:

1. Current Research Talks. KLI fellows or visiting researchers present and discuss their most recent research with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

2. Future Research Talks. Visiting researchers present and discuss future projects and ideas togehter with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

3. Professional Developmental Talks. Experts about research grants and applications at the Austrian and European levels present career opportunities and strategies to late-PhD and post-doctoral researchers.

  • The presentation language is English.
  • If you are interested in presenting your current or future work at the KLI, please contact the Scientific Director or the Executive Manager.

Event Details

Mike Steel
KLI Colloquia
Darwin's Regret: What Maths Tells us about the Evolution of Life
Mike STEEL (University of Canterbury, Christchurch)
2016-06-27 16:30 - 2016-06-27 18:00
Organized by KLI

Topic description:
In the 157 years since Darwin’s Origin of Species, biologists have developed sophisticated ways to uncover and study the hidden shared ancestry of all life from genetic data. While Darwin was able to formulate his ideas without using mathematics, he later wrote how he regretted not having studied that subject further. Mathematics has since become an essential tool that allows biologists to tease apart evolutionary signal from noise and bias in data, and to build reliable phylogenetic trees and networks. Biologists use these trees widely: for example, to classify new species, trace human migrations, and to help predict next year’s influenza strain. In this talk, I provide an overview of how ideas from mathematics have become central to the study and visualizing of evolution.


Biographical note:
Mike Steel is professor of mathematics and director of the Biomathematics Research Centre at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. His research interests include combinatorics, stochastic processes, and applications in evolutionary biology and related areas. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and has around 240 research publications, including two books on mathematical phylogenetics (2003, 2016).