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Russell Scott Lande (born 1951) is an American evolutionary biologist and ecologist, and a Royal Society Research Professor at Imperial College London, in Silwood Park. He is a fellow of the Royal Society.
Education and career
He received his Ph.D. in 1976 from Harvard University where he was a student of Richard Lewontin, and completed his Postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin under James F. Crow. He then held positions at the University of Chicago, University of Oregon, and University of California, San Diego.
Lande is best known for his early work extending quantitative genetics theory to the context of evolutionary biology in natural populations. In particular, he developed a stochastic theory for the evolution of quantitative traits by genetic drift and natural selection. He also proposed a multivariate framework to describe the effect of selection on multiple correlated characters, thus helping clarify the much-debated notion of genetic constraints in phenotypic evolution. He later applied and extended these results to study a wide variety of topics in evolutionary biology, including: sexual selection, speciation, the evolution of phenotypic plasticity, of self-fertilization, of life history, of a species range in space and time.
Apart from his work in evolutionary genetics, Lande has substantially contributed to the fields of population dynamics and conservation biology. In particular, his model on the effect of habitat fragmentation on the extinction threshold of territorial species was central to the debate about the conservation of the Northern spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest. He and Georgina Mace contributed to clarify the categories for the IUCN red list, by proposing new criteria based on measurable quantities relating to times to extinction. He is a specialist of stochastic population dynamics, on which he co-authored a book with Steinar Engen and Bernt-Erik Sæther, and of methods for estimating density dependence from time series of population density.
Some of the concepts and tools he introduced, such as the selection gradient (univariate or multivariate, directional or quadratic) and the G matrix, have become standard in evolutionary biology.
- Lande, R. 1976. Evolution. Natural Selection and Random Genetic Drift in Phenotypic Evolution
- Lande, R. 1981. PNAS. Models of speciation by sexual selection on polygenic traits
- Lande, R. and S. J. Arnold. 1983. Evolution. The Measurement of Selection on Correlated Characters
- Lande, R. 1987. American Naturalist. Extinction Thresholds in Demographic Models of Territorial Populations.
- Lande, R. 1988. Science. Genetics and demography in biological conservation.
- Lande, R. 1993. American Naturalist. Risks of Population Extinction from Demographic and Environmental Stochasticity and Random Catastrophes.
- Lande, R. et al. 2002. American Naturalist. Estimating Density Dependence from Population Time Series Using Demographic Theory and Life‐History Data.
Honours and awards
- Sewall Wright Award 1992
- Guggenheim Fellowship 1996
- MacArthur Fellowship 1997
- Weldon Memorial Prize and Medal 2010
- Balzan Prize 2011
- Fellow of the Royal Society 2012