Theoretical population biology

Staff members

Research Students Humans have long puzzled about the origin of the natural world around them. It was clear as long ago as the 17th century that the laws of what we now call the physical world were best experienced in mathematical language. It is only much more recently that biological laws have been expressed in terms of equations. In former times, biologists categorised their area of interest horizontally thus we had lepidopterists, or botanists, or ornithologists. Nowadays, the categorisation is more usually vertical: thus we have molecular biologists, or cell biologists, or population biologists.

Population biologists study the properties of groups of organisms. On shorter time scales, we study ecology, in which the interaction between different species in different environments is examined, either theoretically or experimentally. On longer time scales, the species themselves change through evolution, and even on shorter time scales there are genetic changes in the population that may enable the history of the species to be probed.

Population biologists seek answers to everyday problems of species management in natural parks and other artificial environments, but also ask fundamental to seemingly unanswerable questions about natural history. Such questions might include:

Here in Southampton, recent research in the theoretical population biology group has included:


The group accepts applications from potential research students and postodctoral workers.  Funding may be available, and applicants should write to Professor Sluckin.

We also are interested in the population biology of the  species homo sapiens sapiens. This work is carried out in a separate research group associated with the Department of Archaeology.



written by Tim Sluckin 3/11/00