MSc Student (2018-Present)
Professor L. Rowe
I am primarily interested in the dynamics of immune investment. Immunity is undoubtedly an important trait with strong ties to individual survival. Despite this fact we commonly observe substantial variation in immune ability within and between species and populations. Sex differences are sometimes implicated in these differences, as the sexes can face different investment pressures due to anisogamy and the resulting differential costs of mating. The consequences of these differences in immunity are not always well understood at the individual and population level.
I hope to investigate some of these consequences using populations of the bean beetle Callosobruchus maculatus. This species is commonly used in studies of sexual conflict due to copulatory wounding imposed on females by males during mating events. Previous work has shown that females of different populations appear to invest differentially into certain immune parameters proportionally to the harm caused by resident males. By experimentally inducing infection in these populations and assaying ability to withstand infection I hope to begin to untangle some of the dynamics and consequences of differential immune investment.