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Dr Elizabeth Ostrowski staff profile picture

Contact details +6492136664

Dr Elizabeth Ostrowski

Senior Lecturer in Zoology and Ecology

School of Natural Sciences

My research is focused on ecology and evolutionary biology, with emphasis on the dynamics of adaptation in microbial populations. I am interested in understanding how organisms adapt to their environment, limitations on this process (i.e., why organisms are not perfectly adapted), the genetic basis of adaptation, and the role of genetic architecture in promoting or constraining evolution. Recently my research has focused on cooperation and conflict – how do microbes build societies to mutual benefit of their members, while safeguarding themselves against cheats?

I approach these questions by integrating laboratory evolution experiments with behavioural and genomic studies of natural populations. Experimental approaches give me insight into how evolution might solve selective dilemmas and the genetic basis of traits of interest, whereas studies of natural populations allow me to understand how evolution has proceeded and to identify traits that are selectively important to an organism.

My research is focused on ecology and evolutionary biology, with emphasis on the dynamics of adaptation in microbial populations. Recently my research has focused on cooperation and conflict – how do microbes build societies to mutual benefit of their members, while safeguarding themselves against cheats?

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Research Expertise

Research Interests

Microbial evolution, molecular evolution, evolutionary genomics, cooperation and conflict

Research Opportunities

  • PhD Position Available  (05/01/2021) PhD scholarship available to work on Marsden Fund Grant, "Can Arms Races Occur with Species?".

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Biological Sciences (060000): Evolutionary Biology (060300): Genetics (060400): Genomics (060408): Microbiology (060500): Molecular Evolution (060409): Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics (060411)

Keywords

Microbial evolution, molecular evolution, genomics, cooperation and conflict

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 1 2

Current Projects

Project Title: Can Arms Races Occur Within a Species

Date Range: 2020 - 2024

Funding Body: Royal Society of New Zealand

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Journal

Ostrowski, EA. (2020). Evolution of Multicellularity: One from Many or Many from One?. Current Biology. 30(21), R1306-R1308
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, EA. (2019). Enforcing Cooperation in the Social Amoebae. Current Biology. 29(11), R474-R484
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Rashidi, G., & Ostrowski, EA. (2019). Phagocyte chase behaviours: Discrimination between Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria by amoebae. Biology Letters. 15(1)
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Votaw, HR., & Ostrowski, EA. (2017). Stalk size and altruism investment within and among populations of the social amoeba. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 30(11), 2017-2030
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, EA., Shen, Y., Tian, X., Sucgang, R., Jiang, H., Qu, J., . . . Queller, DC. (2015). Genomic Signatures of Cooperation and Conflict in the Social Amoeba. Current Biology. 25(12), 1661-1665
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, EA., Ofria, C., & Lenski, RE. (2015). Genetically integrated traits and rugged adaptive landscapes in digital organisms Experimental evolution. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 15(1)
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Flowers, JM., Li, SI., Stathos, A., Saxer, G., Ostrowski, EA., Queller, DC., . . . Purugganan, MD. (2010). Variation, Sex, and Social Cooperation: Molecular Population Genetics of the Social Amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. PLOS GENETICS. 6(7)
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Shen, Y., Wan, Z., Coarfa, C., Drabek, R., Chen, L., Ostrowski, EA., . . . Yu, F. (2010). A SNP discovery method to assess variant allele probability from next-generation resequencing data. Genome Research. 20(2), 273-280
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, EA., & Shaulsky, G. (2009). Learning to get along despite struggling to get by. GENOME BIOLOGY. 10(5)
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Benabentos, R., Hirose, S., Sucgang, R., Curk, T., Katoh, M., Ostrowski, EA., . . . Kuspa, A. (2009). Polymorphic Members of the lag Gene Family Mediate Kin Discrimination in Dictyostelium. Current Biology. 19(7), 567-572
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, EA., Katoh, M., Shaulsky, G., Queller, DC., & Strassmann, JE. (2008). Kin discrimination increases with genetic distance in a social amoeba. PLoS Biology. 6(11), 2376-2382
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, EA., Woods, RJ., & Lenski, RE. (2008). The genetic basis of parallel and divergent phenotypic responses in evolving populations of Escherichia coli. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 275(1632), 277-284
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Cooper, TF., Ostrowski, EA., & Travisano, M. (2007). A negative relationship between mutation pleiotropy and fitness effect in yeast. Evolution. 61(6), 1495-1499
[Journal article]Authored by: Cooper, T., Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, EA., Ofria, C., & Lenski, RE. (2007). Ecological specialization and adaptive decay in digital organisms.. The American naturalist. 169(1)
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, EA., Rozen, DE., & Lenski, RE. (2005). Pleiotropic effects of beneficial mutations in Escherichia coli. Evolution. 59(11), 2343-2352
[Journal article]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.

Book

Broersma, C., & Ostrowski, E. (2022). Group Transformation: Fruiting Body and Stalk Formation (in press). In M. Herron, P. Conlin, & W. Ratcliff (Eds.) Evolution of Multicellularity. : CRC Press
[Chapter]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, E. (2021). Finding the Right Balance: Cooperation and Conflict in Nature. In W. Wilczynski, & S. Brosnan (Eds.) Cooperation and Conflict The Interaction of Opposites in Shaping Social Behavior. : Cambridge University Press
[Chapter]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.

Thesis

Ostrowski, EA. (2005). Adaptation and specialization in biological and digital organisms. (Doctoral Thesis)
[Doctoral Thesis]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.

Conference

Ostrowski, E. (2020, June). Cooperation and Conflict in Multicellular Organisms (Invited Talk). Presented at Electronic Symposium on Protistology
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, E. (2019, September). Population Genomics of Allorecognition in the Social Amoeba (Keynote). Presented at Queenstown Molecular Biology Satellite Symposium on Biomolecular Interactions
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Kuzdzal-Fick, J., Moreno, A., Cooper, T., & Ostrowski, E. (2019). Genotype-by-Genotype Interactions and Its Impact on Social Evolution. Poster session presented at the meeting of Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Population Biology
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Cooper, T., Ostrowski, E.
Khoo, J., O'Brien, J., & Ostrowski, E. (2019, March). Bio-inspired Auckland transport network. Presented at Engineering New Zealand Transportation Group Conference
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, EA., & Miller, MEM. (2017, August). Experimental evolution of resistance to cheating in the social amoeba. Presented at European Society for Evolutionary Biology XVI Congress. Groningen, The Netherlands.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, EA. (2016, February). Evolutionary genomics of social conflict. Presented at Lausanne Genomics Days. Lausanne, Switzerland.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, EA. (2016, August). Conflict and coevolution in the social amoeba. Presented at American Society for Microbiology Conference on Experimental Microbial Evolution. Washington, United States of America.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, EA. (2015, June). Evolutionary genetics of social conflict. Presented at Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Population Biology. Andover, NH, USA.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.

Other

Broersma, C., & Ostrowski, E. (2021). Group transformation: Fruiting Body and Stalk Formation (preprint of book chapter).
[Internet publication]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Ostrowski, E. (2020, June). Cooperation and Conflict in Multicellular Organisms.
[Oral Presentation]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.
Rashidi, G., & Ostrowski, EA. (2018). Discrimination of Gram-Positive versus Gram-Negative Bacteria by the Social Amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. : BioRxiv
[Internet publication]Authored by: Ostrowski, E.

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

Biology of Cells (162.101)

Evolutionary Biology (196.217)

Molecular Ecology (196.318)

Phage Hunt (246.202)

Courses Coordinated

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Main Supervisor 1 0

Current Doctoral Supervision

Main Supervisor of:

  • Cathleen Broersma - Doctor of Philosophy
    Cooperation and conflict in Dictyostelium discoideum.

Media and Links

Other Links