How does pheromone communication evolve?
This simple but unresolved question and its importance in the process of speciation are central to my PhD research. I am especially interested in the sensory biology, neurophysiology, chemical ecology, and olfactory memory involved in pheromone communication and the underlying molecular mechanisms through which these evolve. My main focus is the evolution of chemical communication in orchid bees, a charismatic group of insects known for their unique “perfume collecting” behavior during which males collect volatile chemical substances from their environment. The accumulated ‘perfume blend’ is eventually released in order to attract conspecific mates.
Learn more about my research here.