Tempo and Mode

Tempo and Mode exists to bring together researchers from across the Australian National University campus who are interested in evolution. We link across many departments and disciplines, including biology, philosophy, linguistics, archaeology, anthropology and geology.

Upcoming seminars:

17th October: Graeme Cumming, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies


2:30-3:30 WEDNESDAY 17TH OCTOBER 2018  Jan Anderson Seminar Room*, Robertson Building 46, Australian National University

We face an urgent need for better theories of rapid change in
social-ecological systems. I will first use an ancient philosophical
puzzle, modern ideas about networks and hierarchy theory, and an
analysis of 17 well-documented historical cases of societal collapse to
explore the hypothesis that human social structure influences both the
likelihood of collapse and the nature of the feedbacks between
ecosystems and societies. I will then extend these ideas to consider
the need for structure-process theories in social-ecological research and
the need to move beyond descriptive ideas (such as ‘planetary
boundaries’) to better understand the mechanisms that drive
environmental change. An empirical analysis of national-level use of
ecosystems suggests that global sustainability requires substantive
structural changes to our current economic model

26th October: Alex Skeels & Ian Brennan, RSB ANU:

12:00 Alex Skeels, Research School of Biology, ANU:
Reconstructing speciation geography from contemporary biodiversity datThe origin of new species can occur under a range of geographic conditions, and this “speciation geography” is important in understanding the drivers of species diversity. Here I present a process-based model of diversification and geographic range evolution to reconstruct speciation geography in a number of plant and animal groups, highlighting how we can incorporate sources of uncertainty into these estimates.
12:30 Ian Brennan, Research School of Biology, ANU:
Integrating competition and biogeography into monitor lizard macroevolution
Living monitor lizards exhibit the greatest size disparity among members of a single vertebrate genus. While we appreciate this variety, little research has attempted to explain it. I extend an existing phylogenetic comparative framework to account for historical biogeography and competition between lineages, in an attempt to understand the macroevolution of goanna body size. Our results shed light on the process of character displacement in Australian monitors, and ecological overlap with marsupial predators.

1st November: Ruth Wallace, Charles Darwin University: TBA


Past seminars (under construction)


21 September 2018: Historical linguistics in the Age of Bayes, T. Mark Ellison, Wellsprings of Language Diversity Project ANU.

3 August 2018: Evolutionary dynamics and fitness in wild populations. Loeske Kruuk, Research School of Biology, ANU.

2nd July 2018: Engaging with indigenous knowledge, indigenous communities and research. Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Māori and Indigenous Studies, The University of Waikato

15 June 2018: Six impossible things before breakfast: assumptions models and belief in molecular dating. Lindell Bromham, Research School of Biology, ANU

6 April 2018: Evolution of communication: pragmatics made simple. Richard Moore. Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

9 March 2018: Populations: a general framework. John Mathewson, Philosophy, Massey University.

30 August 2017 The cultural Red King effect. Cailin O’Connor. Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, UC Irvine

Previous speakers (incomplete list)

Barry Brook (University of Tasmania)
Richard Duncan (University of Canberra)
Nicholas Matzke (Australian National University)
Shai Meiri (Tel Aviv University)
Dan Rabosky (University of Michigan)
Walter Jetz (Yale University)
Eddie Holmes (University of Sydney)
Daniel Osorio (University of Sussex)
Ben Kerr (University of Washington)
Peter Bennett (University of Kent)
Nicholas Evans (Australian National University)
Ainsley Seago (CSIRO)
Hanna Kokko (University of Helsinki)
Drew Kitchen (University of Iowa)
Kim Sterelny (Australian National University)
Michael Weisberg (University of Pennsylvania)
Charles Marshall (UC Berkeley)
Simon Easteal (Australian National University)
Simon Ho (University of Sydney)
Meg Woolfit (Monash University)
Peter Hiscock  (Australian National University)