Research

Signal Mimicry in the "Wine-Red" Floral Guild

Signal Mimicry

When should flowers pretend not to be flowers? We are studying a guild of early-spring blooming plants with wine-red flowers that mimic rotting fruits in the forests of eastern North America.

Hawkmoth sensory biology & foraging behavior

Hawmoth Sensory

We use hawkmoths (Manduca and Hyles) as model organisms with which to study how pollinators can use different kinds of floral information (scent, color, shape) to find, feed from and learn about flowers.

Scent polymorphism & reproductive ecology in Oenothera caespitosa

Scent Polymorphism

What are the causes and consequences of geographic variation in floral scent? We are studying this question in the tufted evening primrose, a night-blooming plant pollinated by nocturnal moths (and some bees) across western North America.

Convergent evolution & phylogenetic constraint in hawkmoth pollination

Signal Evolution

How many times - and ways- have moonflowers evolved? We study convergent evolution in guilds of night-blooming flowers in the deserts and grasslands of Argentina, South Africa and the USA

Signal evolution in fly-dispersed dung mosses

Signal Evolution

What can we learn about the evolution of flowers from non-flowering plants and fungi? We are studying dung mosses that use color and scent to dupe flies into dispersing their spores to rotting substrates, to complete their life cycles.

Chemical ecology of obligate mutualism

Chemical Ecology

Theory predicts that “nursery pollination” systems maintain their specificity through private channels of communication. We are studying chemical “secret handshakes” in the classic yucca-yucca moth mutualism of North America.

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