Rowan French (2019-present)
PhD Student, with Mahler and Rowe
I am interested in patterns of morphological diversity and the evolutionary drivers of phenotypic divergence. In particular, I am fascinated by sexually dimorphic traits, which include some of nature’s most elaborate weapons, ornaments, and sensory structures. My PhD work focuses on the evolution of sexual dimorphism and reproductive variation in longhorned beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), a species-rich and ecologically variable group that displays pronounced variation in sexual size and shape dimorphism. As part of my thesis, I am examining the extent to which sexual dimorphism covaries with mating behaviours, larval and adult ecologies, and pheromone signal divergence, using both phylogenetic comparative approaches and studies of single species. I am also investigating trade-offs between exaggerated secondary sexual structures and other costly traits, including brain size and locomotion.