While being broadly interested in animal ecology and evolution as a whole, my focus tends to lean towards insects and how they affect the world around them. One would struggle to enjoy insects without simultaneously having an affection for plants, as the interactions between insects and plants so often make them interlinked. Recently, I have also found an interest in bioinformatic methods, as my doctoral work revolves around it.
In my doctoral project I investigate the ecology, coding genetic landscapes of divergence and the expression profile associated with a recent host shift in Tephritis conura, a phytophagous dipteran strongly dependent on its host.
Specifically, I am interested in the genetic architecture of host plant adaptation. I will use already existing whole genome resequencing data from several populations from each host race of T. conura to investigate what genomic regions are associated with host plant specialization. I will also combine genomic and morphometric data to investigate the effect of sympatry with the other host race on divergence. Finally, I will use gene expression data to address what roles coding genetic divergence and regulation of expression have for host plant adaptation. Additionally, I will use evolvability measurements to investigate if the adaptive potential of a species is reduced following a recent host shift and the population bottle neck this shift implies.
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