|Department of Evolutionary Biology
Morgenbreede 45, 33615 Bielefeld
Phone: +49 (0)521 106 2719
My overarching research aim is to integrate organismal and molecular perspectives on adaptive evolution and plasticity, with a particular focus on male fertility traits such as spermatogenesis and seminal fluid. I am involved in a number of collaborative projects on a range of different taxa, but employ as my main model system a group of simultaneously hermaphroditic marine flatworms in the genus Macrostomum. This enables me to also study the impact of simultaneous hermaphroditism on the evolutionary dynamics of sexual selection and sexual conflict, and to study the causes and consequences of mating system transitions between outcrossing and selfing. I have been particularly interested in how all of these traits are impacted by variation in environmental conditions, testing for adaptive plasticity in response to social factors such as sexual competition and mate availability, and, increasingly, abiotic factors such as temperature and salinity under predicted climate change.
Reflecting my integrative approach,we employ a range of different methods to study these questions. One major focus is on gaining a mechanistic understanding using different molecular and imaging approaches in the lab (e.g. transcriptomics, RNAi, transgenics, in situ hybridisation, immunocytochemistry), whilst on the other hand we seek to elucidate the ecological and evolutionary context in which traits lined to sexual selection, sex allocation and selfing arise, combining controlled laboratory experiments (behavioural and fitness assays, experimental evolution) with field sampling of natural populations.