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 biology. Our approach is essentially integrative, bridging ecology, behavior, physiology and genetics.

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 pre- and post-mating sexual selection, including sperm competition and cryptic female choice in insects. Species inhabiting islands and atolls in the Pacific Ocean are in particular focus…island populations often display remarkably rapid evolutionary transitions (think Hawaii, for example), and are wonderful natural laboratories for evolutionary biologists.

Parasite-host evolutionary ecology

Drosophila-parasitic mite symbioses that inhabit vastly 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