My interests are largely in evolutionary biology, specifically the molecular basis of adaptive divergence and speciation. My PhD project focuses upon life-history variation and species divergence in annual killifish.
The Cynolebiasines are annual killifish that inhabit temporary ponds of South America. The genus Austrolebias has experienced rapid evolutionary radiation leading to incredible variation in traits such as size, growth rate and diet. These fish are an ideal vertebrate system for the study of ecological genomics as they possess a rapid and interesting life-cycle. Their eggs are tolerant to desiccation allowing for storage and international transport and species within the genus are phenotypically divergent but readily produce fertile hybrids.
I aim to determine the genomic architecture of life-history traits and growth traits in one species pair of Austrolebias; A. wolterstorffi and A. gymnoventris. In order to achieve this I will be measuring growth and life history traits, conducting hybridisation experiments for QTL analyses and utilizing next-generation genomic tools (e.g. genomic and transcriptomic scans, candidate loci, expression analyses) to identify potential loci underlying these traits. This investigation will also further our understanding of the genes that underlie growth and life-history traits, specifically those that have played a role in the divergence of the Austrolebias genus.
I am carrying out my studies in the lab of Prof. Vincent Savolainen at Silwood Park. I am also co-supervised by Prof. Armand Leroi (Imperial College London, South Kensington) and Dr. Tom Van Dooren (Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris)