Welcome to the functional ecology Lab!
Organisms are the integrated expression of multiple traits that are jointly influenced by developmental, genetic, and environmental factors. Our research tackles the causes and consequences of functional integration among suites of ecologically relevant traits using a variety of approaches (quantitative genetics, experimental evolution, and comparative methods). By examining trait co-variation across multiple levels of organization (e.g., intra-individual, inter-individual, inter-population, and inter-specific levels), we discover how complex phenotypes have jointly evolved into modules of co-adapted traits. Co-adaptation – a key concept in evolutionary biology – is a multivariate process in which traits interact to determine fitness. Thus, our long-term research goal is to test the working hypothesis that metabolic, performance, and behavioural traits are co-adapted with “slow-fast” life-history strategies favoured by particular sets of ecological conditions.