It is fascinating to think that all complex life on earth evolved from a single common ancestor. Single-celled organisms like bacteria evolved into simple multicellular organisms that later evolved into more complex organisms like plants and animals.
Interestingly, we still have simple multicellular organisms so the evolution of complexity is not inevitable. My research focuses on identifying the key forces that allowed some simple multicellular organisms to evolve additional complexity. In particular, I am interested in the role of the life cycle that governs how a multicellular organism reproduces.
I use mathematical models to consider different types of multicellular life cycles and examine how geometry, ecology, and reproduction interact to either promote or inhibit the evolution of complexity.