Michael Travisano headshot
Office Address

1475 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States



Distinguished McKnight University Professor, EEB Department Head
Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

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Research interests

My long-term research goals are in understanding the causes of biological diversity and complexity. While natural selection is the ultimate cause for both, that level of explanation is not sufficient to understand how the myriad forms of life have come to exist. My research program is essentially a series of studies of increasingly more complicated biological systems. By understanding more simple systems, we then work toward understanding more complicated, and realistic, biological systems. My first projects were with a single species of free-living bacteria, one of the simplest living systems that have biological complexity. Since those first experiments, my work has branched out to include simple eukaryotes, predator-prey interactions, and microbial communities, all of which was possible because of the earlier work.

Selected publications

Ratcliff WC, Denison RF, Borrello M. Travisano M. 2012. Experimental evolution of multicellularity. PNAS.

Goldman RP, Travisano M. 2011. Experimental Evolution of Ultraviolet Radiation Resistance in Escherichia coli. Evolution 65:3486-3498.

Greig D, Travisano M. 2004. The Prisoner's Dilemma and polymorphism in yeast SUC genes. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 271 Suppl 3:S25-6.

Travisano M, Velicer GJ. 2004. Strategies of microbial cheater control. Trends Microbiol. 12:72-8.

Greig D, Louis EJ, Borts RH, Travisano M. 2002. Hybrid speciation in experimental populations of yeast. Science 298:1773-5.

Travisano M. and Rainey PB. 2000. Studies of adaptive radiation using model microbial systems. American Naturalist 156: S35-S44.

Rainey PB, Travisano M. 1998. Adaptive radiation in a heterogeneous environment. Nature 394:69-72.

Travisano M, Mongold JA, Bennett AF, Lenski RE. 1995. Experimental tests of the roles of adaptation, chance, and history in evolution. Science 267:87-90.

Lenski RE, Travisano M. 1994. Dynamics of adaptation and diversification: a 10,000-generation experiment with bacterial populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 91:6808-14.