Work in the lab is focused on the evolution and development of individual differences in behavior, using fruit flies as a model system. Specifically:
Why do individuals differ in behavior and behavioral plasticity?
How do genetic variation and experience in the environment make each individual unique? Why do individuals differ in how they change their behavior in response to experiences and are these differences generalizable across contexts? Which mutations in which genes cause variation and why?
How do individual behaviors produce individual social experiences and emergent social structures?
How do individual preferences, interactions and conflicts result in some individuals having different social experiences than others? How do these processes result in higher-order structures such as social networks, mating systems, and dominance hierarchies?
When and how do genetic variation in social behaviors influence evolution?
Under what circumstances do complex social interactions speed up evolution? Or slow down evolution to maintain variation?
Thank you to the John S. Dunn Foundation for supporting our research!