We investigate how ecological divergence leads to reproductive isolation and speciation.
We focus on divergence in life history traits and parasite defense in Ficedula flycatchers and on divergence in predator avoidance strategy among populations of Strawberry poisonous frogs. Both systems are used to explore how the joint action of natural and sexual selection cause population divergence and the build up of reproductive isolation. The unexplored link between adaptation and the build up of genetic incompatibility is investigated using the flycatcher system. We investigate to what extent the location of QTLs for key traits underlying species-specific adaptations coincide with regions causing genetic incompatibilities between the two species.
We also aim to find out how phenotypic plasticity, particularly in the form of learning, influence the rate of speciation and whether sex-linked genes play a particular role in the speciation process.