Research

Overview

We address fundamental questions in evolutionary biology. The study of insects is our passion, and the research we pursue encompasses sexual selection, nutritional ecology, and host-parasite interactions. Our approach is strongly integrative, bridging ecology, behavior, physiology and genetics.

 

Several of our projects focus on species inhabiting islands in the Pacific Ocean—island populations often display remarkably rapid evolutionary transitions (think Hawaii, for example), and are wonderful natural laboratories for evolutionary biologists.

Sexual selection

Sexual selection is a potent evolutionary driver of some of the most extravagant and rapidly changing traits in all of nature. We study the mechanisms and outcomes of pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection, including sperm competition, cryptic female choice and sexual conflict.

Parasite-host evolutionary ecology

Drosophila-parasitic mite symbioses that inhabit markedly different habitats, from deserts to rain forests, are of major interest to us. This is because together such ecologically relevant systems are well suited to investigations of host resistance and tolerance from the standpoint of their evolutionary costs and benefits in changing environments.

Students can join a variety of existing projects or develop their own