The ongoing research in our lab involves topics at the core of evolutionary biology, including sexual selection, the evolution of anisogamy, the evolution of biphasic life cycles and the evolution of sex. Most animals are sexually reproducing diploid eukaryotes, which produce haploid gametes through meiosis and regain the diploid stage by syngamy between male and female gametes. The reasons for the existence of sexual reproduction in the first place are still highly debated. Similarly, the consequences of the existence of two sexes producing haploid gametes are far reaching but poorly understood.
Most of my previous research focused on the effects that selection during the diploid phase has on the haploid phase, and more specifically how sexual selection affects sperm form and performance. More recently, we have become interested in the potential consequences of a haplo-diploid life cycle in animals and potential genetic and epigenetic effects during the haploid phase affecting the subsequent diploid offspring. Unlike in plants, the existence of haploid stage in animals has largely been ignored, but evidence for postmeiotic gene transcription is increasing and its consequences are at the heart of our current research.
To address our questions we use the experimental approach with the zebrafish Danio rerio and the Atlantic salmon Salmo salar as model systems, we use mathematical tools to develop theoretical models and we use molecular tools to understand the underlying genetics.
Current and past collaborators
Göran Arnqvist, Uppsala University
Tim Birkhead, University of Sheffield
Simon Griffith, Macquarie University
Sally Otto, University of British Columbia
Alexei Maklakov, Uppsala University
Oliver Martin, ETH Zürich
Geoff Parker, University of Liverpool
Scott Pitnick, Syracuse University
Sarah Pryke, Macquarie University