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Behavior leads and evolution follows
Environmental variation is ubiquitous and animals frequently adjust their behaviors to the environment to maximize their fitness, such as a female relaxing her mate preference when males are scarce. These behavioral adjustments are often the first way that animals deal with environmental change.
However, sometimes an animal experiences a novel environment. Or sometimes they experience a dynamic and complex environment, such as when the individuals themselves create the relevant environment (e.g. an insect chorus).
So how does an animal respond? This is our interest. Why? Environments shape individual traits and the variation in traits arising from environmental variation may have important evolutionary consequences on populations, from the maintenance of genetic variation to its potential to initiate divergence.
Through experimental manipulations, we explore the role that various abiotic and biotic environmental inputs play. To this end, we study:
(i) the plastic response of individuals
(ii) the ability of environments to induce such plasticity, and
(iii) how underlying genetic variation in the environment (e.g. social) contributes to that response.
To find out more about our projects, visit RESEARCH