> Nested spatial scales of habitat patches for pitcher-plant dwelling insects [photos: G.Rasic]
At a broad level, I am interested in various aspects of the ecology and evolution of spatially structured populations. I make extensive use of molecular tools in tackling such questions, so much of my research falls within the realm of molecular ecology. More specifically, my main research focus is in the field of ‘landscape genetics’. Landscape genetics is a growing discipline that represents an integration of landscape ecology and traditional population genetics, and aims to understand how landscape structure affects the dynamics of genes in populations.
Because dispersal is a key process that links landscape structure to population genetic structure, understanding the causes and consequences of dispersal is also a theme of my research.
Our lab has worked on several study systems that are well suited to addressing specific questions in landscape genetics: a spatial population network of the Rocky Mountain apollo butterfly, the insects that are commensal inhabitants of the carnivorous pitcher plant, and swallowtail butterflies associated with fragmented forests. We take advantage of some unique properties of these systems to address questions such as:
Some recent projects and collaborations include: