Foster Lab

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Foster Lab

About the Group

We study social interactions in microbes and other group-living species: Organisms regularly meet members of their own and other species. Whenever these interactions affect survival and reproduction - the currencies of Darwin's natural selection - they are "social" in evolutionary terms. We study how social interactions affect and define biological systems.

We study animal groups and interactions within genomes, including transposon evolution. But our primary focus is the microbes who commonly live in dense and diverse communities. And most recently, we have turned our attention to host-symbionts systems including the mammalian microbiome. Our work combines theory and experiments, and we write reviews of key concepts and debates in the study of social systems.

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Professor Kevin Foster

Célia Souque
Dr Ravinash Krishna Kumar
Thomas Meiller-Legrand
Dr Elisa Granato
Dr Daniel Unterweger
Dr Diego Gonzalez
Dr Hans Steenackers
Dr Will Smith
Isabel Frost
Jamie Wheeler
Kirstie Mcloughlin
Oliver Meacock

Recent Publications

Ashby B, Watkins E, Lourenco J, Gupta S, Foster KR. 2017. Competing species leave many potential niches unfilled. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 10.1038/s41559-017-0295-3.

Walsh E, Feuerborn A, Wheeler J, Tan A, Durham WM, Foster KR, and Cook P. 2017. Microfluidics with fluid walls. Nature Communications, accepted. 

McDonald GC, Farine DC, Foster KR, Biernaskie JM 2017 Assortment and the analysis of natural selection on social traits. Evolution, in press. 

Foster KR, Schluter J, Coyte KZ and Rakoff-Nahoum S. 2017. The evolution of the host microbiome as an ecosystem on a leash. Nature, 548: 43-51

Niehus R, Picot K, Oliveira NM, Mitri S, and Foster KR. 2017. The evolution of siderophore production as a competitive trait. Evolution, 71: 1443–1455. 

Smith W, Davit J, Osborne JM, Kim, W., Foster KR, Pitt-Francis JM 2017. Cell morphology drives spatial patterning in microbial communities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,  114: E280–E286.

Coyte K Tabuteaue, H, Gaffney EA, Foster KR, Durham WH 2017. Microbial competition in porous environments can select against rapid biofilm growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114: E161–E170.

Rakoff-Nahoum S, Foster KR, Comstock L. 2016. The evolution of cooperation within the gut microbiota. Nature, 533: 255–259.

Biernaskie J, Foster KR. 2016. Ecology and multilevel selection explain aggression in spider colonies. Ecology Letters, 19: 873-879.

Oliveira N, Foster KR, Durham W. 2016. Single-cell twitching chemotaxis in developing biofilms, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online early.

Schluter S, Schoech A, Foster KR, Mitri S. 2016. The evolution of quorum sensing as a mechanism to infer kinship. PLoS Computational Biology, 12: e1004848


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