I am fascinated by the overwhelming diversity of life on earth. In my research, I try to better understand evolutionary processes that cause and maintain variation within and among plan populations at the example of visual and chemical floral traits important for plant-pollinator interactions.
I received a Master’s degree in Behavioural Sciences, a teaching diploma, and a PhD degree in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. In my PhD project I studied pollinator-mediated evolution in Orchids in Southern Italy and the Swiss lowlands and mountains. I then moved to Uppsala University for a two-year post-doc to study floral scent variation in the geographic mosaic of co-evolution between the Californian plant Lithophragma bolanderi (Saxifragaceae), the highly specialised, pollinating seed parasite Greya politella (a Prodoxidae moth) and more generalised pollinators.
Now, I continue studying the Lithophragma bolanderi system on a two-year post-doc. The overreaching aim of my current project is to study the relative importance of processes that generate variation (mutations, recombination) and processes that filter this variation in different directions (drift, selection). I mainly focus on effects of whole-genome duplications (polyploidization, the most dramatic form of mutation) and selection mediated by the specialised G. politella and generalised pollinators on the variation in complex floral traits such as floral scent.