Postgraduate research student
|Telephone||+44 (0)1326 371852|
|Location||Centre for Ecology and Conservation, Daphne du Maurier building, Cornwall Campus|
2009 MSc Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus
2005 MPhil Zoology, University of the West Indies
1997 BSc Zoology, University of the West Indies
Parallel evolution of insecticide resistance in flies
University of Exeter
My current research explores the parallel evolution of insecticide resistance in two Drosophila species (D. melanogaster and D. simulans). DDT resistance is conferred in each species by a different selfish genetic element (specifically a transposable element insertion at the same locus.) In D. melanogaster, the TE insertion has been shown to have other positive fitness consequences in females including increased fecundity. While this mutation existed before DDT was developed, it only moved to near fixation in the wild after populations were exposed to the pesticide, suggesting that there may be some fitness cost to males of having this TE.
Initially I will be examining the fitness consequences of these TE's on individual male and female flies to test the overall hypothesis that intralocus sexual conflict may be occurring in this system. Subsequently, I hope to use an experimental population genetics approach to examine the frequency trajectory of these genetic elements and both methods (individual and population –level) will help to parameterize subsequent population genetic models. I am also exploring how the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia (another selfish genetic element, this time maternally inherited) might affect this evolutionary scenario by looking at the effect of its interaction on fitness consequences.
My interests in evolution and ecology are wide and have involved both practical and theoretical studies – while my MSc research involved the development of a dynamic game theoretic model of bi-parental lactation, my MPhil research was an extensive study of the freshwater crustacean communities of my native Trinidad and Tobago.