Department of Zoology
I’m a behavioural and evolutionary ecologist, using insects to figure out how adaptive phenotypes evolve, including behaviour, morphology, and molecular phenotypes. My group studies how the nutritional environment and the social environment interact. We are particularly interested in how interactions between males and females impact adaptive evolution. Our research questions include the following. How does mating impact an organism’s nutritional state? How does the social environment shape animal responses to early life diet? How does evolutionary conflict between the sexes influence animal nutrition and diet choice? How does sexual conflict affect maternal diet choice? A NERC DTP DPhil student in my group will pursue research under these themes. Projects include testing how the expression of sexual traits varies with resource availability, how sexual selection can modify nutrient sensitivity, and how both natural and sexual selection can shape adaptations. We use fruit flies and pond skaters as focal organisms: fruit flies because they are amenable to laboratory experiments and detailed observations, and have many genetic and genomic tools available; pond skaters because they are an important model system for sexual conflict and coevolution. Detailed plans for the DPhil project would be defined in discussion with the student, but current approaches in the lab include experimental evolution, behavioural experiments, population comparisons, RNA sequencing and metabolomics.
Associated Research Streams
evolutionary ecology, natural selection, sexual selection, wings, genetic manipulation, insects