The Bell Lab
Department of Biology

Current Research Program
Major research themes


Adaptive radiation

A population living in a complex environment might undergo adaptive radiation into a wide range of narrowly specialized types, or it might evolve as a few broad generalists.  We performed a series of experiments using the bacterium Pseudomonas to investigate how specialization or generalization evolve.

  • Barrett, R.D.H., MacLean,R.C. & Bell, G. 2006.  Mutations of intermediate effect are responsible for adaptation in evolving Pseudomonas fluorescens populations. Biology Letters 2: 236-238. (see Nature Reviews Microbiology 4, 322-323 (May 2006) | doi:10.1038/nrmicro1421).
  • Barrett, R.D.H. & Bell, G. 2006.  The dynamics of diversification in evolving Pseudomonas populations. Evolution 60: 484-490.
  • Barrett, R.D.H., MacLean,R.C. & Bell, G. 2005 Experimental evolution of Pseudomonas fluorescens in simple and complex environments.  The American Naturalist 166: 470-480. 
  • MacLean R.C., Dickson A. & Bell G. 2005.  Resource competition and adaptive radiation in a microbial microcosm. Ecology Letters 8: 38-46.
  • MacLean R.C. & Bell G. 2004.  The evolution of a phenotypic fitness trade-off in Pseudomonas fluorescens.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 101: 8072-8077.
  • MacLean R.C. & Bell G.  2003.  Divergent evolution during an experimental adaptive radiation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 270: 1645-1650.
  • Maclean R.C. and Bell, G. 2002.  Experimental adaptive radiation in Pseudomonas.  The American Naturalist 160: 569-581.

Diversity peaks at intermediate productivity in an experimental microcosm.

We have also used algorithms that evolve inside computers.

An electronic adaptive radiation

  • Yedid, G. & Bell, G. 2002.  Macroevolution simulated with autonomously replicating computer programmes. Nature 420: 810-812. [News & Views 420: 756]
  • Yedid, G. & Bell G. 2001.  Microevolution in an electronic microcosm. The American Naturalist 157: 465-487.