Group Leader

Professor Nick Barton
+43(0)2243 9000 3001

Research Interests
I work on a variety of questions (see Current Research) in evolutionary genetics, the common theme being the use of mathematical models of selection on large numbers of genes, and on spatially continuous populations.  Topics include speciation, hybrid zones, evolution of recombination, selection on quantitative traits, coalescence with selection, and evolutionary computation.


2008 –  Professor, Institute of Science and Technology, Austria

2000-   Personal Chair in Evolutionary Genetics, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh.

1990 -2000  Darwin Trust Fellow, Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh.

1989-1990  Reader at Department of Genetics and Biometry, University College London.

1982-1989  Lecturer at Department of Genetics and Biometry, University College London.

1980-1982  Demonstrator at the Department of Genetics, Cambridge University.

1979-1982  Research Fellowship at Girton College, Cambridge.

1976-1979  Natural Environment Research Council research studentship on “A narrow hybrid zone in the alpine grasshopper Podisma pedestris”.  Supervised by Dr. G.M. Hewitt at the University of East Anglia.  (Ph.D. 1979).

1973-1976  Natural Sciences, specialising in Genetics at Cambridge University. B.A. (First Class).

Awards and activities

2013 Erwin Schrödinger Prize, Austria Academy of Sciences

2013 Mendel Medal, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

2009 ERC Advanced Grand

2009  Linnean Society Darwin-Wallace Medal

2006  Royal Society Darwin Medal

2004 – 2007  Royal Society, Sectional Committee 9 (Chair, 2007)

2004 – 2006  Royal Society, Biological Sciences Awards Committee

2003 – 2006  NERC Peer Review Panel (Terrestrial Sciences)

2002-2004  Conference Grants Committee, Royal Society

2001  Elected President, Society for the Study of Evolution (on Council 2000-2002)

1999-2000  BBSRC/NERC Steering Committee on “Genome manipulation and gene flow in plants and microorganisms”

1999  BBSRC MAFS Panel

1999-2001  Chair, Royal Society Research Grants Committee (Board H)

1998  American Society of Naturalists President’s Award (joint with Mark Kirkpatrick)

1997-2000  Genetical Society Committee

1997  BBSRC Fellowships Panel

1997  NERC EDGE Initiative Panel

1996-1998  Royal Society Research Grants Committee (Board H)

1995  Organised 5th Congress, European Society for Evolutionary Biology, Edinburgh, Sept. 4th – 8th.

1995  Elected Fellow, Royal Society of Edinburgh

1995-1997  Royal Society Sectional Committee 9

1994  Elected Fellow, Royal Society of London

1994  David Starr Jordan Prize (joint with S. Pacala)

1993 – 1994  SERC Mathematical Biology committee.

1993 -1998  NERC Terrestrial Life Sciences committee.

1993  Genetical Society Balfour Lecturer.

1992  Zoological Society Scientific Medal.

1989  Elected Vice-President, Society for the Study of Evolution.

1989 – 1992  SERC Molecular Biology and Genetics subcommittee.

1987 – 1989  Genetical Society Committee

1985  Linnean Society Bicentennial Medal.

Editorial work

2008-2011  Handling Editor, Evolution

2003 –  Editorial Board, Public Library of Science

2001  Editor, special issue of TREE 16(7) on speciation

1997-2000  Editorial Board,  American Naturalist

1994-1997  Editorial Board, Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

1993 –   Editorial Board, Genetical Research.

1990 – 2007  Associate editor, Theoretical Population Biology.

1989 – 2007  Editorial Board, Journal of Theoretical Biology.

1985 – 1989  Advisory Board, Journal of Theoretical Biology.

1984 – 1989  Editorial Board, Heredity.

Major Grants

1981  A study of DNA sequence variation and speciation in two chromosomal races of the grasshopper Podisma pedestris, S.R.C. GR/B/61542. (£7,827).

1984  Speciation and the ‘shifting balance’. S.R.C. GR/C/91529.  (£42,259).

1986  Polygenic variation and divergence: application of new mathematical methods.  SERC GR/E/08507.  (£52,589).

1988  Fitness and population density across a hybrid zone.  NERC GR/3/6864.  (£47,771).

1988  Genetic variation for total fitness and its components in Drosophila melanogaster.  SERC GR/E/94524 (with Dr. L. Partridge).  (£86,424).

1991  A quantitative analysis of the hybrid zone between the fire-bellied and yellow-bellied toads, Bombina bombina  and B. variegata.  NERC GR3/8002 (£74,612).

1991  A theoretical examination of Wright’s “shifting balance”.  SERC Visiting Fellowship for Dr. S. Rouhani. SERC GR/H/12607, GR/J/18033 (£3,490; renewed 1993 £4,743).

1991  A theoretical investigation of polygenic variation in structured populations.  SERC GR/H/09928 (£60,085).

1992  The evolutionary consequences of deleterious mutation. SERC GR/J/6057 .  (£90,017). (graded 4)

1992  Population genetics and feeding ecology of an invading species: the Sika deer, and their hybrids with Red deer.  NERC GR9/830 (With A. Illius) (£7,062).

1993  EC Human Capital and Mobility Grant ERB4050PL922765 (with J. Searle, Univ. of York) (230,000 ecu).

1994  The genetics of adaptation and speciation in the hybridising toads Bombina bombina and B. variegata.  NERC GR3/9353 (with C. Abbott).  (£205,673). Disappointing

1994  The evolutionary consequences of deleterious mutation.  SERC GR/J/76057.  (£90,017).

1995  Analysis of the distribution of the toads Bombina bombina and B. variegata across a hybrid zone: predictions from remotely sensed data.  NERC GR9/01719 (with J.W. Arntzen) (£20,800)

1995  Development of methods for analysis of data from hybrid zones.  NERC GR9/01909 (£16,029) Excellent/Good

1995  Genetic variation for fitness and its components in Drosophila melanogaster. BBSRC 31/G09821. (With L Partridge, UCL).  (£190,000) (plus 18 month extension)

1996  GR/L10048 Stochastic processes in spatially continuous populations: applications in evolution and ecology EPSRC (with A Etheridge, Maths) (£90,000)

1996  Testing mutational explanations of sexual reproduction.  BBSRC (with Andrew Read & Stuart West) (£ 195K)

1996  Introgression of Scottish red deer populations by sika deer (with J Pemberton) NERC GR3/10350 (£171K)

1998  Consequences of mutation accumulation for fitness traits.  BBSRC (with P Keightley).  (£213K)

1998  Genealogies and the process of speciation.  NERC GR3/11635.  (£144K) 1/8/98-1/4/02

1998  The coalescent process in genetically structured populations.  (with A Etheridge, Oxford, and B&D Charlesworth, ICAPB)  BBSRC/EPSRC MMI09726 (£111K) 1/7/98-1/1/02

2000 – 2005  Writing textbook on evolution, commissioned by Cold Spring harbor Press (with N. Patel, D. Goldstein, J. Eisen, D. Briggs)

2003  Genealogies in fluctuating populations: the effect of selection.  EPSRC GR/S41203/01 (with A. Etheridge, Oxford) £130,208

2003  Theoretical analysis of speciation: a general framework. (with M Kirkpatrick) NERC  £139,000

2004-2008   Novel Approaches to Networks of Interacting Autonomes (EPSRC GR/T11753/01) Joint grant with G Ackland (Physics) and G. Marion (BioSS). (£440K)

2005-2008  Distinguishing causes of reduced diversity.  GR/T19537/01.  Co-PI with A Etheridge (Oxford).  (£138,307).

2005-  Evolvable Networks of Intelligent and Secure Integrated and Distributed Reconfigurable System-on-Chip Sensor Nodes for Aerospace based Monitoring and Diagnostics. (Edinburgh/Surrey/Kent/JPL-NASA/SSTL/Epson/SpiralGateway) (EPSRC £1 million total) EP/C546318/01

2005-2007  Natural hybridisation and sexual selection in fire-bellied toads Bombina . Royal Society 2004/R1-FSU (with Alexey Yanchukov)

2005-2010  Royal Society/Wolfson Research Merit Award.

2007-2010  New models for spatially structured populations. (EPSRC S41203 £265K). With Alison Etheridge.

2010-2015 ERC Advanced Grant “Information and Evolution”. €1.9m 

2010-2014 Natural Selection in Spatially Structured Populations (EPSRC 1013091 £215K). With Alison Etheridge2014-2018 FP7 FET grant SAGE “Speed of Adaptation in Population Genetics and Evolutionary Algorithms”, grant with T. Paixao (IST), Per Kristian Lehre (Nottingham), Tobias Friedrich (Jena), Dirk Sudholt (Sheffield). (€366K)

2020-2023 FWF P-32166 “Snapdragon speciation” with David Field (Edith Cowan Univ., Perth) (€399K)