Erol Akçay

Akcay headshot

Assistant Professor of Biology


Ph.D., Stanford University, 2008

Research Interests

I am a theoretical biologist interested in the evolution of complex biological and social organization. Mostly, I work on how individuals with conflicting interests evolve to cooperate with each other, in contexts varying from plant-microbe mutualisms to animal and human behavior. Please check the lab website for ongoing research projects and opportunities for joining the lab.

Courses Taught

BIOL 240: Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems (Fall, with Brent Helliker)

BIOL 417: Theoretical Population Biology (Spring)

Selected Publications

For full publication list, click here.

Akçay, E. (2018) Collapse and rescue of cooperation in evolving dynamic networks. Nature Communications 9: 2692 [on bioRxiv, doi:10.1101/226563] [link to open access article]

Aguilar, E. and Akçay, E. (2018) Gene-culture co-inheritance of a behavioral trait. The American Naturalist [pdf] [link to journal] [on bioRxiv, doi:10.1101/069286]

Akçay, E. (2017) Population structure reduces the benefits from partner choice in mutualism. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: 20162317 [link to journal] [bioRxiv version, doi:10.1101/068445]

Ilany, A. and Akçay, E. (2016) Social inheritance can explain the structure of animal social networks. Nature Communications 7:12084 [link to open access article] [Penn Today Article]

Akçay, E. and Van Cleve, J (2016) There is no fitness but fitness, and the lineage is its bearer. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 371: 20150085 [pdf] [link to journal]

Van Cleve, J. and Akçay, E. (2014) Pathways to social evolution: reciprocity, relatedness, and synergy. Evolution. 68:2245-2258 [link to journal] [final version on arXiv, bioarXiv]

Pringle, E. G., Akçay, E., Raab, T. K., Gordon, D. M., Dirzo, R. (2013) Availability of limiting resources determines context-dependent strength of an ant-plant-hemipteran mutualism. PLoS Biol 11(11): e1001705. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001705 [link to open access article]

Akçay, E., Meirowitz, A., Ramsay, K., Levin, S. A. (2012) Evolution of cooperation and skew under imperfect information. PNAS 109: 14936-14941 [pdf] [link to journal]

Akçay, E., J. Van Cleve. (2012) Behavioral dynamics in structured populations pave the way to group optimality. The American Naturalist; 179:257-269 [pdf] [link to journal]

Akçay, E. and E. Simms. (2011) ‘Negotiation, sanctions and context dependency in the legume-rhizobium mutualism.‘ The American Naturalist;178(1):1-14.  [pdf] [link to journal]

Akçay, E. and J. Roughgarden. (2011) ‘The evolution of payoff matrices: providing incentives to cooperate.’ Proc. R. Soc. B; 278:2198-2206.  [pdf] [link to journal]

CV (url)