Laboratoř evoluční ekologie
Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology
Our laboratory has a broad conceptual focus on trying to understand how extant diversity has been driven through ecological interactions over evolutionary time. We mostly work on model systems comprising tropical plants and their associated insects (herbivores, pollinators and parasitoids), as the majority of described of terrestrial species fall into this group. Our work often includes the use of molecular tools to provide an evolutionary baseline onto which we add layers of complexity in the form of detailed ecological measurements (e.g. plant chemistry data relevant to herbivores or pollinators). We rely on the field collection of samples and work collaboratively with others to achieve our goals, performing a large component of the molecular work in the Department of Ecology. We are currently working on four main themes: 1) evolution of anti-herbivore defences in plants 2) roles of biotic and abiotic factors in the genesis of host-plant chemical diversity 3) elucidating the role of evolutionary relationships and defensive traits in structuring the insect herbivore communities associated with Salix and Ficus, 4) multi-trophic interactions promoting the diversity of arboreal arthropods.