We work on the sessile organisms (marine invertebrates and seaweeds) that inhabit coastal ecosystems. We use a combination of lab and field experiments, quantitative genetic approaches, comparative approaches and evolutionary theory to ask fundamental questions about their evolutionary ecology.
Evolutionary consequences of environmental change
Environmental change has profound consequences for the evolutionary trajectories of populations. We are exploring how environmental change alters the expression of quantitative genetic variation in key aspects of whole-organism performance (e.g., reproductive success, survival, or morphology), plus the patterns of selection acting upon them.
Phenotypic plasticity is the expression of different phenotypes in different environments, and is an important mechanism by which populations respond to environmental change. We are using a range of experimental approaches to explore the adaptive value of plastic responses to biotic and abiotic variation in clonal seaweeds and invertebrates.
Life history evolution
Marine organisms have amazingly diverse life histories. For example, some are external fertilisers while others are internal fertilisers, some have free-swimming larvae while others don’t, and some have separate sexes while others are hermaphrodites. We are interested in the ecological and evolutionary forces that shape this diversity.