I am an evolutionary biologist and with a strong focus on aquatic ecology. My research interests focus on how organisms interact with the world around them, how diversity arises and is maintained, and how genomic organisation, genetic architecture, hormonal signalling / physiological processes combine to coordinate those processes. My active research focusses on how genes, genomes and the environment interact to generate and maintain phenotypic plasticity and polymorphisms within populations. Currently, I work at EAWAG – the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. Before this job, I was in Patrik Nosil‘s lab at the University of Sheffield on projects on stick insects and Mytilus mussels. I also have a few side projects on vertebrate (Anolis apletophallus lizards) and invertebrate (Daphnia pulex, Tetrahymena thermophila) systems using genomic, transcriptomic, and ecological methods to uncover how genes, genomes and environments interact to change phenotypes. Thats a bit technical sounding, so I’ll try to rephrase it a bit:
I am interested in how living things perceive and react to the world around them. The world is full of signals; colorful flowers attract pollinators, tasty fruits attract seed dispersers, and tasty little animals attract predators. Its pretty obvious that failing to detect a predator is going to be very bad, so being receptive to cues of predators – such as the scent of a predator – is necessary. But how are these cues received and interpreted? How do receivers respond to those cues? Over what timescales? at what cost? Recipients may not respond identically, so what happens then at the population level? the community? the meta community? Is it possible that how chemical signals are perceived and acted upon explains all the diversity we see around us? What then happens when mistakes are made? Can chemical imposters (known as endocrine disruptors) interfere with this signalling? What affect might these chemicals have on an individual? a population? a community? What happens when two different signals conflict?
Other things I do:
I’m also a photographer, web developer, content writer, database manager, touring cyclist. I currently live in Zürich, but until recently inhabited the tropical jungles of central america, and the soggy island of the UK. I was born a long time ago in a land far far away (Australia).