photo credits: Matt Wilkins
ecological & evolutionary connections between phenotypic variation and population-level patterns
Our group is fascinated by relationships among different scales of biological organization. Questions about individual variation (behavior, morphology, and genotype) and population patterns (social and genetic structure, reproductive isolation, phenotype divergence) are usually addressed in isolation from one another, but we are particularly interested in studying the direct relationship between these two scales of analysis. To make explicit links between process and pattern, we test theory-driven hypotheses related to both the function and proximate mechanisms that underlie various aspects of phenotype and combine experimental and comparative approaches to explore relationships between individual-level variation and larger-scale patterns within and among populations. Our current work is centered on experimental and genomic studies of closely related yet phenotypically divergent populations of barn swallows.