The evolution of phenotypic plasticity
My strong interest in the evolution of local adaptation and dispersal strategies has also engaged me in the study of phenotypic plasticity. I have for example tested theoretical models with empirical data, showing that the evolution of phenotypic plasticity is correlated with dispersal rate.
Other part of my work within plasticity has focused on costs and constraints of plasticity and a number of our empirical studies have contributed to our general understanding of how plasticity evolves in concert with, or as an alternative to local genetic adaptation.
Furthermore, we have tried to understand how naïve interactions develops and evolve in order to predict how global changes might affect indigenous species. Non-indigenous species, and especially harmful alien species, can cause significant problems in pristine environments and have become a major force in ecology, economics and human/animal health and welfare. However, because of differences in the way novel predators induce defenses in prey, a general consensus has been missing on how naïve prey exposed to novel predator co-evolve. For that reason, this project is unique and timely since it takes a broader perspective to identify general patterns and test theoretical predictions about the interface of predator-prey co-evolution and phenotypic plasticity.