Systems Science Friday Noon Seminar Series



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It is often stated that the macroevolution of life is driven toward increased Complexity, and indeed, biosystems situated at higher evolutionary level show higher levels of Complexity. Yet, evidence also shows that some dynamic systems evolve toward lower entropy states, and not by increasing Complexity, but by increasing Organization. Organization is a parameter with two almost orthogonal components: Order and Complexity. Hence, it is possible for a dynamic system to experience changes in Organization in ways that do not elicit changes in Complexity. Whether Order or Complexity controls changes in Organization is dictated by the capacity of a system to store Meaningful information, and by the costs and payoffs of changes in Order or Complexity. This presentation analyzes transitions in the evolution of prebiotic systems (microevolution events) that are Complexity-independent. It is concluded that the actual driver of evolution is not the need for more Complexity, but the need to maximize the efficiency of energy dissipation.

Biographical Information

Radu Popa has been an Associate Professor in the Biology Department at Portland State University since 2005. His research interests include microbial ecology and the origin and evolution of prebiotic systems (the origin of homochirality).

B.S. Biology - University of Bucharest, Romania M.S. Evolutionary Biology - The American University, Washington DC Ph.D. - Ecology - University of Bucharest, Romania Ph.D. - Microbiology - University of Cincinnati, OH Post Doc. - Caltech/JPL Pasadena, CA Res. Prof. - University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA


Life -- Origin, Macroevolution, Biocomplexity, System theory, Chaotic behavior in systems, Evolution (Biology), Systems biology


Evolution | Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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The Complexity-Independence of the Origin of Life