Welcome to our website!
Our collective interests span a diverse range of topics in evolutionary ecology and evolutionary genetics. Currently, much of the work in the lab focuses on understanding the contribution of sexual selection to adaptation and the purging of deleterious mutations, and in particular how sexual conflict may contribute to this and how its effects may vary with ecology. We are also studying the evolutionary divergence of mate preferences and how this may generate assortative mating that can contribute to both initiating and completing the speciation process. Information about these and other projects can be found on our Research page.
Our approach to these and other topics is empirical and utilizes both laboratory and field studies, the former including various species of Drosophila (e.g., D. melanogaster, D. serrata, D. recens, D. subquinaria), the fungus Aspergillus nidulans, and the antler fly, Protopiophila litigata. Our field system is based out of the Wildlife Research Station in the beautiful Algonquin Park, working with antler flies (and hopefully soon, some relatives as well). Most of what we do involves whole organism assays of fitness, behaviour, morphology, and other phenotypes, although we also dabble in quantitative genetics and genomics. We have a particular interest in contact pheromones in insects (i.e. cuticular hydrocarbons and their derivatives) because of their role as sexual displays, and we have the facilities for their high-throughput quantification via gas chromatography.
Apr. 2020 - New students coming
Delighted to announced that Cameron Kendrick and Tristan Ducharme will be joining the lab as new graduate students this coming September. Cameron isn't coming from far as he did his undergraduate at uOttawa, while Tristan is from just down the road at U. of Toronto. Tristan will be co-supervised by V. Carreau and will be working on our collaboration that takes a quantitative genetic approach to studying selection and sexual conflict with respect to metabolic traits in Drosophila. Not sure what Cameron will be working on yet.
Sept. 2019 - New students
Welcome to Matteo Tremblay, Imani Badji and Troy Martin who are all doing honours research projects wholly, or in part, in our lab. Belated welcome to Will who arrived in Jan (yay!) and has already been on a collecting trip out west, although flies weren't as co-operative at being caught as we hoped.
Aug 2018 - undergraduate student paper accepted
Former undergraduate Alison MacPherson's honours project on the effects of female quality on male-induced harm in Drosophila has been accepted for publication in Biology Letters. Tania Barrera and Li Yun helped on the paper with collaborator Aneil Agrawal.
July 2018 - new PhD student William Jarvis coming
Will is coming from an MSc at Guelph with Beren Robinson, starting in Jan. 2019. We're excited! Not sure yet what he'll do in our lab; lots of exciting possibilities!
June 2018 - Work of grad student Li Yun published in PNAS
Li is studying the effects of mate competition on adaptation and purging in Drosophila using an enormous evolution experiment (63 replicate populations). Cool result - the environment in which mate competition occurs shapes its impact! Paper here. Li is co-supervised by Aneil Agrawal.
May 2018 - new PhD student Tania Barrera
Tania spent a semester in our lab on an undergraduate exchange from Mexico and will be coming back to do a PhD co-supervised by myself and Aneil Agrawal. She'll be based out of the U. of T. and will be looking at intralocus sexual conflict using populations from Li's evolution experiment (see above).
Nov. 2016 - New faces and sad goodbyes
Former MSc and lab-tech extraordinaire Julie Colpitts leaves to start a PhD. We wish her all the best! In addition to Chris, Matheiu, Natasha and Lauren, Li Yun also joined us in Sept for a PhD. The lab is hopping again!