Paige Bradley-Ortiz
January 16, 2013
Block A
Leigh Van Valen
Leigh Van Valen was born and raised in Cincinnati, but moved to Ohio to attend Miami University. He attended Miami University because Chicago’s University rejected his undergraduate application. “And then to Columbia and the American Museum of natural history for graduate work with George Gaylord Simpson and Theodosius Dobzhansky.”( Van Valen, L. (2011). Leigh van valen). Van Valen arrived in Chicago in 1967, and soon left from the Anatomy Department because he realized that it was not his true passion. Soon enough he decided Van Valen joined what is now an ecology and evolution department.
In the year 1976, Van Valen published an account of the problem of nature; he explained how constant extinction works. Most of Van Valen’s work involved paleontology, ecology, genetics, macroevolution and philosophy. “My work has been more in finding new ways to look at gaps rather than filling them in, although I’ve done quite a bit of the latter too.”( Van Valen, L. (2011). He originated a moderate number of used concepts, a lot were not unique. He studied a lot about: fluctuating asymmetry, metapopulations, source sink equilibria, ecological species concept, Van Valens test in statistics, and the Red Queen Effect.
Soon enough he became a professor emeritus in the department of ecology and evolution. He also became a member of the committees on evolutionary biology of genetics and conceptual foundations of science at Chicago University. His studies basically centered around extinction and diversification, which is where he started to study the “Red Queen Effect”. The “Red Queen Effect” basically said that: the constant extinction rates observed in the paleontological record caused by coevolution between competing species relates to the advantage of sexual reproduction at the level of individuals. The “Red Queen Effect” was basically related to the “Law of Extinction”. He tried to prove that “in many populations the probability of extinction does not depend on the life time of this population.”( Van Valen, L. (2011). Leigh Van Valen died October 16, 2010.
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