Postdoc & lecturer
My research centers primarily on the evolutionary processes driving speciation, with particular interest in the role of adaptation to new ecological environments. Related interests include phylogeography and phylogenetics. A range of data are used to address these research topics, including field observations, laboratory experiments, and molecular data. Molecular work ranges from population genetics and phylogenetics to evolutionary genetics.
Currently my main research focuses on the evolution, biodiversity and phylogeography of stick insects (Phasmatodea) with special emphasis on Malagasy and African lineages. This work is in collaboration with Sven Bradler in the DFG-funded project ‘Biodiversity and evolution of Malagasy stick insects: Ancient lineages or recent adaptive radiation?’. We seek to infer the evolutionary history of the Malagasy lineages and investigate the adaptive clade diversifications and micro-endemism of these insects. Furthermore, this study is aimed to advance our understanding of the phylogeography and evolution of distinct ecomorphs of stick insects on islands, for example ground-dwellers and canopy-dwellers, flying and flightless forms.
Additionally, I am working on questions relating to the evolution and phylogeography of selected taxa in New Zealand, including the Chatham Islands, in collaboration with Steve Trewick and Mary Morgan-Richards.
Academic education & scientific career