Evolution of Networks belongs to the Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE). This group is led by CSIC Tenured Scientist Sergi Valverde, and studies natural and artificial networks in the search of universal evolutionary principles. We are interested in the role played by emergence, convergence and environmental fluctuations in the origin of evolutionary innovations, and how the pattern and process of evolution differs when traits are learned rather than transmitted genetically. Cultural evolution depend on social learning, which provides a non-genetic pathway for the transmission of adaptive traits. The group brings expertise in complex systems, complex networks, and theoretical ecology.
We study different approaches to extend evolutionary theory beyond the domain of biology. This effort depends on empirical analysis and theoretical modelling. An unique approach of our lab is the complex networks perspective of the evolution of culture, which we have developed over the years (see our review paper here). We also develop systematic ways to recollect and analyse the rich fossil record of inventions.
Sergi Valverde (Principal Investigator)
I am a network scientist at the Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE), where I study how information evolves. I studied computer science and physics in school, but I've always been interested by evolutionary theory and its applications outside of biology, such as social evolution. One of my main research interests is the evolution of complexity in natural and artificial systems, as illustrated by the coevolution of hardware and software. My current research interests include networks, evolution, and complexity.
Salva Duran-Nebreda (Postdoctoral Researcher)
I am a Biotechnologist and Complex Systems researcher interested in the Major Transitions in Evolution. In particular, I am fascinated by how individuality shifts as new levels of selection are created and how emergent properties appear in collective systems, from multicellular entities to ecosystems and societies. My research includes aspects of Synthetic Biology, EvoDevo, Pattern Formation, Complex Networks in Ecology and Cultural Evolution.
Blai Vidiella (Postdoctoral Researcher)
Together with Sergi Valverde and Josep Sardanyes (CRM), I am a postdoctoral researcher on the MPA4sustainability Biodiversa project. To prevent ecological collapse, I am designing, simulating, and evaluating engineered systems. Thus, I draw on concepts from a wide range of disciplines, including ecology (for determining what's needed), computer science (for the design of circuits), synthetic biology (for organism engineering), dynamical systems (such as ghost phenomena and chaos), and mathematical modeling (to test and predict behavior). My research aims to a deeper comprehension of the interplay between human activities and the biotic components of endangered ecosystems, as well as how to keep these ecosystems healthy. Will it be possible to Terraform our planet?
Keywords: Complex Systems, Complex Networks, Theoretical Ecology.