The 91st Wageningen UR Dies Natalis on 9 March 2009 celebrated the legacy of Charles Robert Darwin, born 200 years ago.
His monumental work ‘On the Origin of Species’, published in 1859, in which the theory was presented that species evolve over generations through a process of natural selection, is considered a landmark in evolutionary biology. The theory laid the foundation for the scientific approach of understanding the dynamics of biodiversity. This understanding - and the unraveling of the underlying mechanisms - also led to the development of a scientific basis for agriculture.
During the Dies Natalis ceremony, Dr Stephen C. Stearns, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, addressed the legacy of Charles Darwin through a lecture on the impact of Darwin’s thought on agriculture, medicine, and economics. Dr Marcel Dicke, Professor of Entomology at Wageningen University discussed the evolutionary ecology of behaviour, body odour and body-building.