Professor Stuart WestBack to People

Subjects: Biological Sciences
Department: Department of Zoology
College appointment: Supernumerary Fellow
Academic position: Professor of Evolutionary Biology
Phone: 01865 281998


Stuart West is the Professor of Evolutionary Biology in the Department of Zoology. He studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge, obtained a PhD in Evolutionary Biology at Imperial College London, was a visiting fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and then held a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship followed by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in Edinburgh. He moved to Oxford in 2009.


Stuart coordinates and takes part in the Evolutionary Biology teaching in the Biological Sciences course.


Stuart’s main interest is adaptation, and especially the evolution of social behaviours, such as cooperation, altruism, spite, mutualism and how these can influence major evolutionary transitions. He uses a mixture of techniques including theory, experiment and across species comparative studies. His empirical work has utilised a range of organisms, including bacteria, protozoa, insects (especially parasitoid wasps), fish, birds and mammals.

Selected Publications

  • Burton-Chellew, M.N. & West, S.A. (2013) Pro-social preferences do not explain human cooperation in public-goods games. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA 110, 216-221.
  • Fisher, R.M., Cornwallis,C.K., & West, S.A. (2013) Group formation, relatedness and the evolution of multicellularity. Current Biology 23, 1120-1125.
  • West, S.A. & Gardner, A. (2013) Adaptation and inclusive fitness. Current Biology. 23, R577-R584.
  • Darch, S.E., West, S.A., Winzer, K. & Diggle, S.P. (2012) Density-dependent fitness benefits in quorum sensing bacterial populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA 109, 8259-8263.
  • Davies, N.B., Krebs, J.R. & West, S.A. (2012) An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • PDFs are available at http://www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/group/west/pubs.html