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About Omar Tonsi Eldakar

I am an evolutionary biologist exploring the dynamics of multilevel selection in the evolution of cooperation and conflict. Multilevel selection posits that all of the fundamental features of natural selection such as variation, heritability and fitness occur at multiple levels of biological organization. Although selection at these levels may act harmoniously for particular traits, they are often in conflict in regards to social evolution.
 
The concept of selection at multiple levels arose in response to the original problem posed by Darwin who observed that social adaptations are not always locally advantageous. Natural selection favors traits that confer a reproductive advantage over others, thus a wide range of important and common traits, including altruism, helping and cooperation seemed paradoxical. However, although selfish individuals maintain a relative fitness advantage over altruists within groups, the negative fitness consequences of selfishness on the group as a whole (including selfish individuals), may decrease the fitness of selfishness in the overall population. Groups with more altruistic individuals will contribute more offspring to the next generation than groups comprised of more selfish individuals. Thus, traits such as altruism can achieve the greatest overall fitness in the population, while still being selectively disadvantageous locally within any given group. My research investigates the balance of selection at multiple levels and mechanisms that mediate this balance in a wide range of taxa from bacteria to insects to humans.
 
The theory of evolution also provides a lens through which to view our world, revealing fascinating adaptations at every turn. The general framework of evolution by natural selection allows us to make specific predictions about why things are the way they are, and also improve our overall understanding of the world around us and the relationships within. It is through this perspective that I maintain diverse interests in adaptive behavior and physiology. These interests are typically explored in close collaboration Andrew C. Gallup in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the State University of New York, Polytechnic Institute.
 

Positions

2013 Present Assistant Professor, Nova Southeastern University Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography
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Education

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20092012 Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Arizona ‐ Center for Insect Science
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2008 Ph.D. Biology, Binghamton University--SUNY
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2005 M.S. Biology, Binghamton University--SUNY
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2003 B.S. Biology, Binghamton University--SUNY
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Contact Information

(954) 262-8087

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Articles (26)