The University of Southampton
Mathematical Sciences

Research project: Computational Human Sciences

Currently Active: 

We apply mathematics to the study of the human condition. Some of our studies involve human biology. Examples include modelling bioelectricity and understanding the role of active drainage flows in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Other studies take the point of view of anthropology and social science. For example, we have modelled the expansions of human populations across the world, and examined models of cooperation and competition in order to understand better how humans (and other animals) can live in large societies. Some of our studies lie in between these limits, such as when we study the genetics of selection, or the interaction of genetics and economics in the evolution of domestic animals. Finally, we are interested in the contemporary human condition, specifically how and whether we can avoid collapse by raw material shortage or global warming.

Project Overview

Evolution of maternal effects

Evolution of maternal effects

Maternal effects are the influences of the mother's phenotype (the set of her observable characteristics) on her offspring's phenotype by routes other than through the inherited genes. Potentially they provide an additional means of adaptation to changing environmental conditions over and above phenotypic plasticity (the direct adaptation of the individual's phenotype during its lifetime). We have developed a series of models to help understand what the consequences of maternal effects might be and under what circumstances they might be expected to evolve.

Evolution of cooperation

Evolution of cooperation

Cooperation between individuals is influenced by many things including social relationships, the relative rewards of cooperation and non-cooperation, the risk of punishment for antisocial behaviour and learning from others which behaviours are successful. We study how cooperative behaviour is maintained in populations using game theory and models of social interaction, including social networks.

Industrial ecosystems

Industrial ecosystems

Industrial ecology is a multidisciplinary field that draws an analogy between biological ecosystems and the web of relationships between firms, industries, people, environment and governance structures in the economy. We created a model of trade and service interactions in an industrial district, and then extended it to investigate the effect of mutualistic and competitive interactions on the behaviour of Marshallian and hub-and-spoke industrial districts.

Related research groups

Applied Mathematics
Computational Applied Mathematics


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