My research focuses on the area of evolutionary ecology and development. I am particularly interested in the role of developmental mechanisms in sexual selection and the evolution of reproductive strategies in insects. My training is in cell and developmental biology and I apply these tools to evolutionary questions. Thus my lab uses a variety of approaches including behavioural observations, cell biology and microscopy, and quantitative genetics to investigate these questions. Much of my research has focused on two areas, evolution of male reproductive strategies in different social contexts and how early reproductive experiences shape lifetime reproductive success in females in a cockroach, Nauphoeta cinerea.
My current research is working to understand how nutritional environment underlies life history trade-offs, reproductive strategies, and behavior in both males and females of the milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus. There is a wealth of knowledge about the evolutionary ecology and population genetics in these insects. But unlike many other insect species for which this sort of data exists, Oncopeltus is also becoming a model system for developmental genetics, and the standard “molecular toolbox” is available for exploring the molecular physiological mechanisms underlying these trade-offs.