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Evolutionary Processes

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived. See NSF 24-543 for the latest version.

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


The Evolutionary Processes Cluster supports research on microevolutionary processes and their macroevolutionary consequences. Topics include mutation, gene flow, recombination, natural selection, genetic drift, assortative mating acting within species, speciation, and long-term features of evolution. These investigations attempt to explain causes and consequences of genetically-based change in the properties of groups of organisms (at the population level or higher) over the course of generations as well as large-scale patterns of evolutionary change, phylogeography, origin and maintenance of genetic variation, and molecular signatures of evolution at the population or species level. The cluster seeks to fund projects that are transformative -- that is, those that will change the conceptual bases of evolutionary biology and have broad implications for future research.  Both empirical and theoretical approaches are encouraged. The Cluster is comprised of two programs, Evolutionary Genetics and Evolutionary Ecology (described below); proposals should be submitted to one of these programs.

Research on evolutionary patterns and processes is supported across the Biological Sciences Directorate. The following, general guidelines are provided to help you find the most appropriate program for your research interests. Proposals addressing molecular genetic mechanisms or the structure, maintenance, expression, transfer, and stability of genetic information in DNA, RNA, chromosomes, and proteins and how those processes are regulated are considered by the Genes and Genome Systems Cluster (Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology). The evolution of physiological or developmental mechanisms is covered by programs in the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems. We recognize that research topics may cross disciplinary and administrative boundaries; the Evolutionary Processes Cluster frequently co-reviews projects with each of these clusters or programs. Program Officers stand ready to answer more specific questions about the best program for your particular research plans.

Evolutionary Genetics Program: The Evolutionary Genetics Program supports research that investigates the genetic bases of micro- and macroevolutionary processes and their effects on the evolution of genotypes and phenotypes. Both adaptive and non-adaptive processes and their effects will be considered. Within this context, appropriate topics of investigation include (but are not limited to) population and quantitative genetic examination of the processes responsible for the evolution of complex phenotypes; processes maintaining genetic variation; how the properties of genes (number, arrangement, and pattern) and their interactions influence evolutionary processes at the population level or above; the evolution of genetic architecture; and multi-species comparisons of aspects of development.

The Evolutionary Ecology Program supports research on the evolutionary causes and consequences of ecological interactions (intra-specific, interspecific, and with the abiotic environment).  Appropriate topics of investigation include the selective pressures imposed by abiotic or biotic environments and the evolutionary responses to these pressures; the causes and consequences of phenotypic plasticity; life-history evolution; the evolution of interspecific relations (predator-prey, competition, cooperation, mutualism, parasitism, symbiosis); the ongoing evolution of biodiversity; dynamics of natural and sexual selection; and the phylogenetic bases of community assembly.



Program contacts

Nicola Anthony
nanthony@nsf.gov (703) 292-8227
Elizabeth Friar
efriar@nsf.gov (703) 292-7135
George W. Gilchrist
ggilchri@nsf.gov (703) 292-7138
Nancy J. Huntly
nhuntly@nsf.gov (703) 292-8061
Richard Kliman
rkliman@nsf.gov (703) 292-8610
Samuel M. Scheiner
sscheine@nsf.gov (703) 292-7175 BIO/DEB

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