Schedule of Lectures & Conversations

Mar 27

Carleton Connects: Mark McKone on the Evolution of Sex

Carleton Connects with Mark McKone, Towsley Professor of Biology and Research Supervisor of Cowling Arboretum

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Mark McKone: The Evolution of Sex
Mark McKone

This program took place on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

How can one day of field work on a Carleton off-campus program lead to a publication in a peer-reviewed journal?  Join Carleton Connects with guest Mark McKone (Towsley Professor of Biology and Research Supervisor of Cowling Arboretum) as he explains the genesis of a paper in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology with five student co-authors.  The central research focus was the evolutionary reason that sexual reproduction is maintained in so many wild species, even though asexual reproduction is an alternative with distinct fitness advantages.  The group took advantage of a model organism for research on this question, the aquatic New Zealand snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum.  Both sexual and asexual forms of the snail occur in the lake we studied, and we uncovered strong evidence to support the "Red Queen" hypothesis for the advantage of sexual reproduction.  (Yes, that Red Queen, from Alice Through the Looking Glass.)  Tune in to learn more!


Dr. McKone is an evolutionary ecologist, pursues research on the interactions between insects and plants. Particular interests include the pollinator community of prairie composites and the evolutionary impact of pre-dispersal seed predators of grasses. He teaches Evolution, Population Ecology, Evolution of Sex and Sexes, and part of Introductory Biology.

Sponsored by Carleton Connects. Contact: Christopher Brunelle, x5690