Why do most organisms undergo sexual reproduction? Or more specifically, what factors maintain sexual
reproduction when strains within a species that reproduce asexually could invade and displace sexuals?
More than 20 genetic, evolutionary, and ecological hypotheses have been proposed to answer this basic
question, often considered the queen of evolutionary problems. As an evolutionary ecologist, my
research focuses on the ecological and evolutionary consequences of sexual and asexual modes of
reproduction. My research covers two major areas:
The coevolution between parasites and their
hosts, a process that should select for sexual reproduction according to the "Red Queen" hypothesis.
The ecological and evolutionary consequences of asexual reproduction, including factors
that affect the ability of clonal populations to invade new habitats and biological communities.
My research subjects
include both marine and freshwater invertebrates. In my lab, we use molecular genetic marker studies,
laboratory infection experiments, and studies of natural populations to address our main questions.
Research topics in
my group include host-parasite interactions, the ecology and evolution of sexual and asexual
reproduction, life-history evolution, and invasion ecology. For more information, please jump to my
"Research Activities and Publications" web page.