Indiana State University Newsroom

Evolution and behavior is topic of presentation March 26

March 19, 2012

A noted biologist will take center stage at Indiana State University on March 26 to discuss how evolution impacts behavior.

In conjunction with the University Speakers Series, Molly Cummings, associate professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas-Austin, will discuss "What Can Evolution Tell Us about Behavior? An Evolutionary Examination of Poison and Passion." Her presentation begins at 7 p.m. in the University Hall Theater. In addition to the University Speakers series, Cummings' speech is part of Indiana State's Darwin Keynote Speakers Series and Women in Science program and is co-sponsored by Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Cummings earned her bachelor's degree in human biology at Stanford University in 1990; a post-graduate diploma in marine sciences at James Cook University in North Queensland, Australia in 1993; and her Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2001. She has been a member of the faculty at UT Austin since 2004. Her research focuses on external and internal processes shaping animal communication traits with an emphasis on behavior. She combines environmental measures, behavioral experiments in the lab and field, and molecular approaches to achieve an integrative understanding of the sources and targets of selection for communication trait evolution. Research in her lab focuses on three major areas: neural mechanisms of mate choice, polarization camouflage and communication, and the evolution of conspicuous signals.

The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information about the 2011-12 University Speakers Series, call 812-237-3783.

Media contact and writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812-237-3783 or