Research Summary

Variable environments make life difficult. Seasonality is a prime example and a pervasive element of nearly every habitat on earth. Resources and mates are often ephemeral, while harsh conditions can persist for much longer. Evolved strategies for dealing with environmental variability are highly diverse, incorporating elements of life cycle timing, phenotypic plasticity, and general stress resistance.

Environmental change, therefore, can be a powerful driver of population divergence and speciation. Our goal is to understand both the selective factors giving rise to this diversity and the physiological and genetic underpinnings of adaptations to variable environments. We primarily work with insects, which exhibit an extraordinary diversity of strategies for dealing with rapidly changing environmental challenges.

Traits of particular interest include dormancy and related developmental mechanisms of seasonal synchronization, and stage-specific responses to thermal means and extremes. Methodologically, we strive to integrate transcriptomic and genomic data with metrics of whole organism performance and suborganismal physiology.

Specific projects: