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Omar Tonsi Eldakar, Ph.D.

Omar Eldakar
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Biological Sciences
(954) 262-8087 oeldakar@nova.edu

Education

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship (2009-2012). PERT fellow for the Center for Insect Science. University of Arizona, AZ
  • Ph.D. (2008) Biology. The evolution of self-limiting behavioral strategies. Supervising Professor: David Sloan Wilson, Binghamton University, NY
  • M.S. (2005) Biology. Explaining individual differences in cooperation, cheating and punishment Supervising Professor: David Sloan Wilson, Binghamton University, NY
  • B.S. (2003) Biology. Binghamton University, NY

Academic Interests

I am an evolutionary biologist exploring the dynamics of multilevel selection in the evolution of cooperation and conflict. Multilevel selection posits that all of the fundamental features of natural selection such as variation, heritability and fitness occur at multiple levels of biological organization. What evolves in populations are the net sum of these selection pressures. Although selection at these levels may act harmoniously for particular traits, they are often in conflict in regards to social evolution.

The concept of selection at multiple levels arose in response to the original problem posed by Darwin who observed that social adaptations are not always locally advantageous. Natural selection favors traits that confer a reproductive advantage over others, thus a wide range of important and common traits, including altruism, helping and cooperation seemed paradoxical. However, although selfish individuals maintain a relative fitness advantage over altruists within groups, the negative fitness consequences of selfishness on the group as a whole (including selfish individuals), may decrease the fitness of selfishness in the overall population. Groups with more altruistic individuals will contribute more offspring to the next generation than groups comprised of more selfish individuals. Thus, traits such as altruism can achieve the greatest overall fitness in the population, while still being selectively disadvantageous locally within any given group. My research investigates the balance of selection at multiple levels and mechanisms that mediate this balance in a wide range of taxa from bacteria to insects to humans.

Specific Interests

  • Multilevel selection
  • Cooperation and conflict
  • Game Theory
  • Sexual Conflict
  • Yawning

Courses Taught at NSU

  • BIOL 1100 – Concepts and Connections in Biology
  • BIOL 1510 – Introduction to Biology II
  • BIOL 3220 – Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 4600 – Evolution, Adaptation, and Health
  • BIOL 4900 – Independent Study in Biology
  • BIOL 4950 – Internship in Biology
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