Interactions between thermal adaptation, niche evolution, natural and sexual selection
We use thermal imaging ("IR camera") to investigate genetic and phenotypic variation on thermal plasticity and field body temperatures and the nature of selection on thermal traits. In odonates (dragonflies and damselflies), we estimate sexual and natural selection in the field and in populations of marked individuals. We also use phylogenetic comparative methods and field data for many species, genera and families of odonates across the globe and across various biogeographic regions and microclimatic regimes to infer the macroevolutionary dynamics of thermal adaptations. In a more recent collaboration together with Dr. Charlie Cornwallis, we investigate the quantitative genetics of thermal plasticity vs. canalization in an individually-marked population with pedigree information of the largest living bird on Earth: The ostrich (Struthio camelus). This research will inform us about the evolution of ecophysiological adaptations in a climatically extreme and fluctuating thermal environment of southern Africa.