Albert F. Bennett

Picture of Albert F. Bennett
Dean Emeritus, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
School of Biological Sciences
Founding Hana and Francisco J. Ayala Dean
School of Biological Sciences
Former Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives, Executive Vice Chancellor
B.A., University of California, Riverside, 1966, Zoology
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1971, Zoology
Phone: (949) 278-7899
University of California, Irvine

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
University of California, Irvine
Mail Code: 2525
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Evolutionary and comparative physiology
Academic Distinctions
1978-83 National Institutes of Health Career Development Award
1981 Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1989-90 Irvine Faculty Research Fellowship (with R.E. Lenski)
1994 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2002 August Krogh Distinguished Lecturer, American Physiological Society
2007 Western Evolutionary Biologist of the Year, UC Network for Experimental Research on Evolution
1971-73 Miller Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley
Research Abstract
My research concerns the interaction of living systems with their environments, particularly in regard to temperature and energy exchange. Temperature controls nearly all rate processes in organisms, including their metabolism, locomotion, growth and reproduction, and thus governs all aspects of their lives. All these processes are likewise limited by energy intake and its subsequent partitioning into maintenance, thermoregulation, synthesis, and activity. I study these factors in very diverse kinds of organisms. Much of my earlier research involved comparative and experimental studies on vertebrates, particularly reptiles, which have limited capacities of oxygen uptake and are consequently very reliant on anaerobic metabolism to sustain vigorous activity. These physiological constraints, coupled with variable body temperatures, create interesting adaptive patterns in behavior and energy allocation that are quite distinct from those of homeothermic animals. Much of this work was undertaken in an attempt to understand the evolution of endothermy (“warm-bloodedness”) in mammals and birds, both in regard to the alterations entailed in physiology and morphology and also in the selective factors that promoted its development. In order to study evolution in different environments experimentally, I use populations of bacteria which can be cultured for thousands of generations in the laboratory and measure changes in their adaptive fitness and underlying genetics. This research has involved nearly 100 populations which have adapted to different thermal and acid environments, some of them constant and some variable. Experimental evolution provides an important tool for testing evolutionary hypotheses and determining the diversity of adaptive responses to novel environments.
Bennett, A. F., and J. A. Ruben. 1979. Endothermy and activity in vertebrates. Science 206: 649-654.
Ruben, J. A., and A. F. Bennett. 1980. The vertebrate pattern of activity metabolism: Its antiquity and possible relation to vertebrate origins. Nature 286: 886-888.
Ruben, J. A., and A. F. Bennett. 1987. The evolution of bone. Evolution 41: 1187-1197.
Bennett, A. F., K. M. Dao, and R. E. Lenski. 1990. Rapid evolution in response to high temperature selection. Nature 346: 79-81.
Travisano, M., J. A. Mongold, A. F. Bennett, and R. E. Lenski. 1995. Experimental tests of the roles of adaptation, chance, and history in evolution. Science 267: 87-90.
Riehle, M. M., A. F. Bennett, and A. D. Long. 2001. Genetic architecture of thermal adaptation in Escherichia coli. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 98: 525-530.
Bennett, A. F., and R. E. Lenski. 2007. An experimental test of evolutionary trade-offs during temperature adaptation. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 104: 8649-8654.
Hughes, B. S., A. J. Cullum, and A. F. Bennett. 2007. Evolutionary adaptation to environmental acidity in experimental lineages of Escherichia coli. Evolution 61: 1725-1734.
Bennett, A. F., and B. S. Hughes. 2009. Microbial experimental evolution. Am. J. Physiol. (Reg.). 297: R17-R25.
Tenaillon, O., A. Rodriguez-Verdugo, R. L. Gaut, P. McDonald, A. F. Bennett, A. D. Long, and B. S. Gaut. 2012. The molecular diversity of adaptive convergence. Science 335: 457-461.
Rodríguez-Verdugo, A, D. Carrillo-Cisneros, A. González-González, B. S. Gaut, and A. F. Bennett. 2014. Different tradeoffs result from alternate genetic adaptations to a common environment. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 111: 12121–12126.
Deatherage, D. E., J. L. Kepner, A. F. Bennett, R. E. Lenski, and J. E. Barrick. 2017. Specificity of genome evolution in experimental populations of Escherichia coli evolved at different temperatures. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 114: 1904-1912.
2013-2016 National Science Foundation Grant IOS-1257427 (Organism-Environment Interactions)- "Connections among Genotype, Phenotype and Fitness in Escherichia coli High Temperature Lines”– B. Gaut, P.I. A.F. Bennett, A. Long, Co-PIs.
2015-2018 Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy Award # DE-AR0000534 -- “ Thermocomfort Cloth Inspired by Squid Skin” – A. A. Gorodetsky, P.I. A.F. Bennett, M. Trexler (Under Armour), Co-PIs. $2,800,000.
Professional Societies
American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Elected Fellow)
American Association Advancement of Science (Elected Fellow)
American Physiological Society
Society for Experimental Biology
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
Society for the Study of Evolution
Other Experience
Founding Chair 2013-20, Member 2013 - present, Board of Directors
Irvine Ranch Conservancy 2013—-
Member, Board of Directors; Chair, Education and ConservationCommittee
Crystal Cove Conservancy 2012—-
Member, Board of Directors
Pangea World 2014—-
Member, Advisory Board; Co-Director (2020)
Olive Tree Initiative, UCI 2015—2020
Member, Board of Directors
Center for International Experiental Learning (CIEL) 2021—-
Visiting Research Appointments
University of Chicago, Michigan State University, University of Nairobi, University of Western Australia, University of Adelaide, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama
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