Topaz Halperin


Department of Philosophy

Subject:    Neutrality in Ecology

Supervisor: Prof. Arnon Levy

Abstract:    Approximately twenty years ago, the field of community ecology was shaken by a new theory, which suggests that patterns of species biodiversity may result from completely neutral processes. In my work I analyze the concept of neutrality in ecology, the explanatory structure of this neutral theory and its various interpretations. My overarching goal is to explore what ecological neutrality is and how it could work to explain, investigate and predict ecological patterns.

Bio:  I started my academic path in the Life Sciences. I completed an MSc degree in Ecology at the Hebrew University, where my thesis focused on the foraging behavior of lizards.
I then moved to the Philosophy of Science, completing an MPhil degree at the University of Cambridge. My dissertation there analyzed the concept of biological altruism.
Currently I am a PhD student in the department of Philosophy at the Hebrew University and in the Inter-University Program for the History and Philosophy of the Life-Sciences.


Halperin, T. and Levy, A. (2021). What, if anything, is biological altruism?. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. Accepted.

Halperin, T., Kalyuzhny, M., & Hawlena, D. (2018). How to use (and not to use) movement‐based indices for quantifying foraging behaviour. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9(4), 1088-1096.

Halperin, T., Carmel, L., & Hawlena, D. (2017). Movement correlates of lizards’ dorsal pigmentation patterns. Functional Ecology, 31(2), 370-376.


President Scholarship 2019/2020