Welcome to the Foster Lab

We study the social lives of microbes and other group-living species

Organisms regularly meet members of their own and other species. Whenever these interactions affect survival and reproduction - the currencies of Darwin's natural selection - they are "social" in evolutionary terms. This is social evolution and we study social evolution in a diverse range of systems, including insects, humans, and even sperm. Some of our work is theoretical and some is experimental. We also write reviews of key concepts and debates in social evolution. And in recent years, we have come to particularly focus on species whose sociality is often overlooked: the microbes.

On the website you can read more about what we do, find people and download our papers.


New piece in PNAS: we show that microbes fight for position in order to get the most nutrients, rather like plants growing tall to compete for light. Read the paper here. Read the PNAS research highlight here.

New piece in Nature Reviews Micro: we argue that stress responses respond to ecological competition: "competition sensing". We made the cover. Read the paper here.