Hampus Petrén

Doctoral Student

Research

I have a broad interest in the ecology and evolution of plants and insects, with a focus on the evolutionary ecology of floral signals and plant-insect interactions. After receiving my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Uppsala University, I’m now continuing with my PhD studies at Lund University.

In my PhD project I use the alpine plant Arabis alpina (Brassicaceae) as a study system to investigate the relationship between plant mating system, floral signals and plant-insect interactions. In various species of plants, including A. alpina, some populations are self-incompatible outcrossers, whereas other populations are self-compatible and in some cases also highly selfing. Using both field and greenhouse experiments I study different European populations of A. alpina that show this kind of variation in mating system. In doing so, I want to explore various aspects of the evolutionary ecology of this species and the insects with which it interacts, with the goal of understanding more about how ecological interactions shape evolutionary processes and patterns. More specifically, I study (1) how the mating system of geographically separated local populations affects traits such as flower morphology and scent production, (2) the degree of reproductive isolation between populations with different mating systems, (3) the role of local selection patterns in shaping differentiation among different populations of A. alpina, and (4) the effect that such differentiation has on the host plant preference of butterflies using A. alpina as a host plant. In addition to my PhD project, I am also interested in how different genetic, physiological and environmental factors shape host plant preference in Pieris butterflies.