The Grosberg Lab
College of Biological Sciences
Center for Population Biology
4349 Storer Hall
(530) 752-1114



Rick Grosberg

Professor of Evolution & Ecology
Section of Evolution & Ecology
College of Biological Sciences

B.A. UC Santa Cruz (1976)
Ph.D. Yale University (1982)

The tension between conflict and cooperation is a universal feature of interactions among genes, cells, individuals, and groups of individuals. In a few cases, such as the evolution of multicellular life cycles and social behaviors, the balance has swung in favor of cooperation, initiating persistent changes in social organization and critical transitions in the history of life. For the most part, however, conflict remains a destabilizing force at many levels. I am especially interested in the evolution of self/nonself recognition systems, and their role in mediating conflict.

"My research centers on building an understanding of the behavioral, ecological, cellular, developmental, and genetic mechanisms that limit conflict and promote the evolution of cooperation."

I am motivated by a desire to understand the basic processes that govern the maintenance of genetic variation, and the factors that influence the spatial and temporal distribution of genetic variation in natural populations. In part, I study genetic structure of natural populations because of its impacts on the evolution of social behavior. But I am also interested in the interplay among larval dispersal, genetic structure, population persistence, local adaptation, genetic diversification, and speciation, especially in marine organisms.

I primarily study marine invertebrates, including anemones, hydroids, sea squirts, and snails; but I also like ants, fungi, and flowering plants. I work in places ranging from vacant lots in Davis, to the mudflats of the Gulf of California, the rocky shores of California, Oregon, and Washington, laboratory aquaria at Bodega Marine Lab, and the Great Barrier Reef. My approach involves field and lab experiments, molecular genetics, population genetics, and phylogenetics, plus a very modest amount of modelling.

My ongoing research interests fall into the following general areas:



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