A major question related to major evolutionary transitions is the impact that the environment plays on inducing such transitions. In this micro working group we will look at the transition to multicellularity as a consequence of snowball Earth. We know much more about this transition than earlier transitions - such as the shift to cellularity early in life's history - in terms of biological phylogenies, Earth history, and geochemistry, such that it serves as an ideal testbed for connecting biophysical constraints, environmental change, and evolutionary transitions. We will focus on the connection of morphology, physical constraints, and physiology for the transition to multicellularity, and then extend and generalize these ideas to the origin of cellularity.
This event is supported by the National Science Foundation Grant Number 1745355, under the Research Coordination Networks (RCN) program (RoL: RCN for Exploration of Life’s Origins). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.