Primary research interest

  • Quantitative evolutionary biology

Researcher biography

My research aims to understand the processes generating and eliminating genetic variation, and the consequences of these for evolution. This research has three specific foci. First, we study native Australian rainforest flies, using simple phenotypes like wing shape to provide insights into how genetic variation arises through mutation and evolves under selection. Second, in both flies and in fishes, we study how the biotic and abiotic environment affects the contribution of genetic variation to phenotypes. The environment applies selection, but can also directly determine the genetic basis of the traits under selection, and affect the rate of evolution when environments change. Third, we seek to understand how morphology, physiology and behaviour interact to cause variation in functional performance, particularly swimming performance in fish. All organisms must perform certain functions (e.g., feeding, moving), and their performance of these functions directly determines their fitness.