Insect Physiology and Alpine Biology

Insect Physiology
As ectotherms, insects physically depend on external environmental conditions for their body heat, and are vulnerable to environmental extremes. We are studying temperature and water-stress physiology, in order to understand the key environmental factors that limit insects, the genetic basis of these physiological traits, and to understand how insect evolve in response to ongoingenvironmental change.

Current Projects: Invasion and climate adaptation in pest insects (Spotted-wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, and the eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes); Snowpack reduction and climate warming in alpine snow-field insects

Alpine Biology
Very few organisms inhabit alpine ecosystems, largely because of the physiological challenges that they encounter in these environments. Physical stressors include extreme and variable temperatures, reduced atmospheric oxygen, high ultraviolet radiation, and short growing seasons. How organisms overcome these challenges, how they regulate their seasonal and daily activity periods, and how they respond to episodes of climate variation remain open questions. A special focus of the lab is to explore the ecology and evolution of alpine organisms. 

 Current Projects: Alpine beetle colonization of nunataks in the Juneau Ice Fields.