Stefania Kapsetaki

Research Interests

I work on the evolution of multicellularity. How and why do single cells form a multicellular group? How groups are formed can be a major influence on the evolution of cooperation, and whether cooperative groups make the major evolutionary transition to a higher level individual. The formation of clonal groups, by remaining with parents leads to a greater kin selected benefit of cooperation, compared with formation of groups by aggregating, with potential non-relatives. The freshwater algae Chlorella sorokiniana, Chlorella vulgaris and Scenedesmus obliquus form multicellular groups in response to the presence of predators as a defensive mechanism, but it is not clear whether they form groups by remaining together or by aggregation.

By performing fluorescence microscopy and time-lapse photography we have shown that, in response to predators, these algae form groups by both remaining with parents and aggregation. Additionally, different algal species form mixed-species multicellular groups in response to predation. The observation of aggregation, even between species:

  1. emphasises the likelihood of direct fitness benefits of forming groups to avoid predation
  2. strengthens the across species correlation between the method of group formation and whether multicellularity is facultative or obligate.

Selected Publications

Kapsetaki, S.E., Tep, A. & West. S.A. (2017) How do algae form multicellular groups? Evolutionary Ecology Research 18, 1-13. 

Kapsetaki, S.E., Fisher, R.M. & West. S.A. (2016) Predation and the formation of multicellular groups in algaeEvolutionary Ecology Research 17, 651-669. 

Kapsetaki, S.E., Tzelepis, I., Avgousti, K., Livadaras, I., Garantonakis, N., Varikou, K. and Apidianakis, Y. (2014) The bacterial metabolite 2-aminoacetophenone promotes association of pathogenic bacteria with fliesNature communications5, p.ncomms5401. 

Tzelepis, I., Kapsetaki, S.E., Panayidou, S. and Apidianakis, Y. (2013) Drosophila melanogaster: a first step and a stepping-stone to anti-infectivesCurrent opinion in pharmacology13(5), pp.763-768. 

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