Dr Alex Alvergne

Associate Professor in Biocultural Anthropology
Harris Manchester College
Ph.D. in Human Evolutionary ecology (University of Montpellier II, France)


Email: alexandra.alvergne@anthro.ox.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1865 284946

Teaching and Research Interests

I have broad interests in human behavioural ecology, reproductive ecology, demography and cultural evolution. My research aims to investigate the role of biological and cultural evolutionary processes in accounting for variation in human reproduction. I focus on both ultimate (reproductive outcomes) and proximate levels of explanation (cultural transmission, physiological regulation) for understanding behavioural diversity and change.

The topics I have been working on include (1) social transmission and the adoption of modern contraception at the early stages of fertility decline; (2) reproductive conflict and the evolution of menopause; (3) the role of contraceptive uptake for mate choice preferences; (4) the maintenance of variation in personality traits; (5) the role of paternity uncertainty for understanding variation in paternal care and paternal recognition of children through phenotypic resemblance. During my PhD, I have conducted fieldwork in France and rural Senegal; more recently, I have been using quantitative methods to analyze large demographic and social network datasets from rural Gambia and Ethiopia.

Current research projects include:

  • Social, ecological and demographic factors influencing reproductive decisions (in coll. with Dr Virpi Lummaa, University of Sheffield, UK)
  • Social networks and behavioural change in rural India (in coll. with Dr. Shakti Lamba, University of Exeter, UK)
  • Family structure and health in the developing world (in coll. with Dr David Lawson, University College London, UK) 

Awards and Funding 

  • British Academy/Leverhulme small research grant on 'The diffusion of innovations revisited: understanding cultural change from an evolutionary perspective' (2013 with Dr Lamba)
  • Newton International Post-doctoral Fellowship, awarded by the Royal Society and the British Academy (2009-2011).
  • 2010 New Investigator Award of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association (EHBEA).
  • Small equipment research grant on “Linking individual variation in personality, physiology and reproductive success to understand changes in fertility patterns in human societies”, awarded by the Royal Society (2010 with Dr Lummaa). 


  • The Anthropology of Diseases
  • Nutritional Anthropology
  • Nutritional and Medical Ecology
  • Evolution in Health and Medicine 

Other activities 

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