Welcome to the Crow Institute

The J.F. Crow Institute for the Study of Evolution is a cross-college institute whose mission is to foster multidisciplinary research to address complex biological problems facing society, and to improve public understanding of evolution through education and outreach.

Consider making a donation to support the Crow Institute today.

We’re excited to be starting a new semester of our Evolution Seminar Series, available in person and virtually. Check out the schedule here.


The J. F. Crow Institute has formed a new permanent committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As a first step in supporting these principles, we have drafted a statement which appears here.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to our virtual Darwin Day activities! See our Darwin Day page for a schedule and links to the recorded virtual events (poster shown below). Also check out our Virtual Lab Tours and other educational activities.

Recent event:

Tortoises All the Way Down

A discussion with Elizabeth Hennessy and Emma Marris
Wednesday, November 18, 6:30-7:30 pm CST (virtual)

The Nelson Institute invites you to a discussion and celebration of Vilas Associate Professor Elizabeth Hennessy’s 2020 book, On the Backs of Tortoises: Darwin, the Galápagos, and the Fate of an Evolutionary Eden.

The event will be moderated by environmental writer Emma Marris and focus on the entangled social and natural history of the Galápagos Islands, and their namesake species the giant tortoise. Made famous by Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection in the 1800s, the Galápagos Islands have long been an area of interest for everyone from pirates to professors. As charismatic icons of conservation, the tortoises at the heart of the book embody the paradox between attempts to restore endangered nature and the tourism industry that drives the local economy. Nelson Institute Vilas Associate Professor Elizabeth Hennessy will discuss these tensions during this virtual event. Join us as we explore the ways in which human and nonhuman life are entangled through the lens of the Galapagos Islands.

For more information and to register, click here.

Many thanks for the support that makes all our activities possible:

Core support has come from the the College of Letters and Sciences and the Department of Genetics – our administrative home.  In addition we have received generous sponsorship from:

  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Bacteriology
  • Department of Biochemistry
  • Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics
  • Department of Botany
  • Department of Entomology
  • Department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology
  • Department of Geoscience
  • Department of Philosophy
  • University Lectures Committee
  • Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers
  • Other friends of science and reason