Research Themes

Temporal change in biodiversity
We study biodiversity time series to quantify and identify drivers of global change. We undertake studies at local and global scales, and focus on long term trends as well as short-term fluctuations.

Species coexistence

The number of species that can coexist with only a few, similar resource requirements issurprisingly high, and this is particularly striking in high diversity tropical communities such as tropical rainforests and coral reefs. Abundances and spatial distributions of species are extremely uneven. Our research aims to understand the processes that regulate these distributions, and hence species coexistence.

Life histories and mating behaviour

We are interested in quantifying mate choice variation and its fitness consequences. In particular, we are interested in examining mating responses to different social and environmental conditions.

Using model organisms such as the Trinidadian guppy, we have been investigating the role of environmental and social conditions in shaping mating behaviour and life history investment. For example, we have recently looked at the fitness and phenotypic diversity consequences of multiple mating, the effects of sex ratios during ontogeny for mating behaviour, and the effect of different social conditions for the maintenance of multiple mating.

Understanding the processes by which individuals adjust their mating behaviour in response to experienced conditions in order to maximize fitness will shed valuable information for our understanding of phenotypic plasticity

Thermal ecology of invasive species
Temperature is arguably the main environmental parameter determining the latitudinal limits of a species. Environmental change might result in species expanding their ranges polewards, and at the same time it can open the door for exotic species to become invasive in regions with previously unsuitable conditions. In our lab, we assess thermal sensitivity of fitness-influencing elements of performance to understand (1) the effects of changes in thermal regime on species distributions and (2) the ability of some species to invade habitats with thermal conditions that differ from those in their native range.

The overarching aim of our research is to identify the role of phenotypic plasticity as a potential mechanism allowing invasion or range expansion to areas with novel thermal regimes. In particular, we investigate thermal performance curves (TPCs) for survival skills of fish as well as within- and among-generation plasticity in the shape and position of those TPCs.