Akcay Lab @ Penn

Ecology, Evolution, and Social Dynamics

Welcome to the Akcay Lab

We are in the Department of Biology at University of Pennsylvania, located in Lynch labs, second floor.

We are interested in a variety of topics in theoretical biology, all having to do with the evolution of complex biological and social organization. We work on how individuals with conflicting interests evolve to cooperate with each other, in contexts varying from plant-microbe mutualisms to cultural evolution.

The lab is affiliated with the Evolution Cluster, the Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences, MindCORE, and the Social and Cultural Evolution Working Group (SCEW) at Penn.

Please follow the links above for detailed description of our research interests and opportunities for joining the lab.

You can also email Erol Ak├žay at eakcay@sas.upenn.edu or follow him on BlueSky or Mastodon.

New papers out in PLoS Computational Biology and Journal of Theoretical Biology

Two papers on indirect reciprocity, led by former postdoc Bryce Morsky (now Assistant Professor at Florida State University) are out recently in PLoS Computational Biology (with Josh Plotkin) and Journal of Theoretical Biology (with Neel Pandula, who worked in the lab...

Panel on climate change and extinction at Perry World House

Erol joined a panel on climate driven extinction crisis at the Perry World House last month, together with Michael Mann from Penn Earth and Environmental Sciences and Zinta Zommers from the United Nations. The panel was moderated by Simon Richter from Penn Germanic...

New paper out in Evolutionary Human Sciences

Marco and Erol's new paper is now online at Evolutionary Human Sciences (link). In this paper, we show that the coevolutionary dynamics of social network structure and cumulative culture creates a conflict over group-level payoffs and individual payoffs. Specifically,...

New paper out in Science Advances

Marco and Erol's paper on how cultural selection shapes social network structure is now out in Science Advances [open access]. We show that selection for different kinds of culture (generalist vs. specialists) generates dramatically different kinds of social networks....