Here are some of the systems and projects that we're interested in.
Image Credit: Alex Wild
Nasonia - Speciation Genetics and Physiology
Nasonia is a genus of parasitoid wasps with 4 described species, all of which produce interspecific hybrids when crossed (after clearing Wolbachia endosymbiont infections). This allows us to investigate the genetic basis of species' phenotypes in hybrids and to measure hybrid effects directly as they relate to reproductive isolation.
Interesting projects using Nasonia include studies of:
Ants - Colony Identity and Biological Invasions
Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) are widely invasive in the Southeast, yet they don't reach the same dominance that they do in other parts of their invasive range. It is unclear if this is due to external ecological factors that stop them from dominating or internal genetic factors that keep them from forming massive supercolonies as they do elsewhere. By sampling colonies in the region and comparing them to more invasive colonies, we may be able to start to address these questions.
Other ant species in the Southeast that may help us understand invasiveness include: