Evolution of sterile helpers in bees, ants and wasps
Explore evolutionary genetics by explaining the evolution of sterile helpers in the eusocial Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps).
This is an area of intense interest because it involves understanding evolutionary change at its most fundamental level.
In this project, new ideas about the effect of life history on the evolution of eusociality are being tested. This aim is facilitated by new information on the phylogenetic relationships and life histories of the Hymenoptera.
Evolutionary genetics of sex, sexes and senescence (s3)
I study the evolutionary genetics of fundamental problems: the evolution of sex and recombination, sexes (anisogamy), senescence (ageing) and altruism (kin selection).
These questions are approached using comparative data analysis and mathematical modelling. As such, my work is purely computational, relying on statistical analysis and computer programming.
I have been modelling the coevolution of hosts and pathogens to test the idea that such antagonistic coevolution selects for recombination.
I have also been using data from the volvocince algae (Volvox, Chlamydomonas, etc.) to test theories about the evolution of anisogamy (sexes).
Another area of focus is using life table data from honeybees to determine whether the large differences in lifespan between queens and workers are due to the different hazards of their lifestyles or whether they are due to the adaptive plastic regulation of somatic maintenance.