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Dr. Caroline Rose

B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.


physical: Building xx.x // The Station Crescent // Oteha Rohe
tel: +64 9 4140800 ext xxxxx // email: c.rose(at)


My research uses the Pseudomonas fluorescens experimental system to study the evolution of multicellularity from cooperating groups.

The transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms is one of the most significant evolutionary events in the history of life, yet it presents a very perplexing and interesting biological problem. In multicellular organisms, lower-level entities (cells) have relinquished their ability to survive and replicate independently and instead reproduce exclusively as part of the whole. This raises an intriguing question: How did the transition from natural selection acting primarily at the level of the cell, to natural selection acting primarily at the higher level of the organism, occur?

My research focuses on a central paradox: how the first groups evolved by natural selection when they are seemingly unable to leave offspring - an essential requirement for evolution by natural selection (see Evolution of Individuality). I am subjecting experimental populations of P. fluorescens to contrasting selection regimes, and phenotypic and genetic analyses of derived lines will determine the extent to which populations have evolved group-level traits and improved fitness.


Hammerschmidt, K., Rose, C.J., Kerr, B. & Rainey, P.B. (2014) Life cycles, fitness decoupling and the evolution of multicellularity. Nature, in press.

Rose, C.J., Chapman, J.R., Marshall, S.D.G., Lee, S.F., Batterham, P., Ross, H.A., Newcomb, R.D. (2011) Selective Sweeps at the Organophosphorus Insecticide Resistance Locus, Rop-1, Have Affected Variation across and beyond the α-Esterase Gene Cluster in the Australian Sheep Blowfly, Lucilia cuprina. Mol Biol Evol 28:1835-1846.

Tooman, L. K., Rose, C. J., Carraher, C., Suckling, D. M., Paquette, S. R., Ledezma, L. A., Gilligan, T.M., Epstein, M., Barr, N.B., Newcomb, R.D. (2011) Patterns of Mitochondrial Haplotype Diversity in the Invasive Pest Epiphyas postvittana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). J. Econ. Entomol. 104(3), 920-932.

Caroline Rose