Award winning biologists explain ‘Darwin finch’ work

Two of the world’s foremost biologists – acclaimed for their work on Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos Islands – are at the University of Aberdeen on Monday (May 24).

Professors Peter and Rosemary Grant – who won the hugely prestigious Kyoto prize for their research – are giving a talk entitled Evolution and Speciation in Darwin’s Finches at 3.30pm in the main lecture theatre of the University’s Zoology Building.

The husband and wife evolutionary ecologists - both Emeritus Professors at Princeton University in New Jersey - have spent months at a time over many years on the Galapagos Islands studying Darwin’s Finches.

They picked the species for intensive investigation 30 years ago because of the birds’ unique features, including their tameness and the simplicity of their undisturbed habitats, which makes them suitable for field research into questions about evolution.

The Professors who have studied over 25 generations of finches – or more than 19,000 individual birds – also selected the Galapagos birds because they have retained the full complement of species.

Dr Jane Reid, Royal Society University Fellow at the University of Aberdeen, has organised the talk on behalf of the University’s Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

She said: “We are absolutely delighted to host this talk by Professors Peter and Rosemary Grant, two of the world’s foremost evolutionary ecologists, and are extremely lucky to have them visiting Aberdeen”.

Tea and coffee will be served from 3pm onwards and there will be a reception after the talk.