What traits function to maintain species boundaries?
My ongoing and future research focuses on the ecological drivers of diversification and reinforcement. Still within the context of phylogenetics and biogeography, I am investigating the role of sexual dichromatism and the interplay between natural and sexual selection in the diversification of wrasses and parrotfishes. Results from this work indicate that sexual dichromatism is more pronounced in fishes that occur only in brightly lit coral reef habitat. In addition, by focusing on sister-species this work has revealed interesting dynamics of sexual selection versus natural selection through time. Check back again soon for more on this. In the meantime here’s a picture of a terminal phase wrasse.
How have phenotypic traits like color pattern evolved and how do they function?
In 2016 I will begin an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology, for research using biological collections. For this project, I seek to discover the function and ecological drivers of butterflyfish color patterns using mathematical modeling to simulate color pattern and phylogenetic comparative methods to test ecological predictions. I look forward to travelling to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the California Academy of Sciences to work with their fish collections.