I study evolution and behaviour in insects. I’m interested in figuring out answers to questions like: why do males and females evolve different behaviour and morphology? How does the battle of the sexes play out over evolutionary time? How do conflicts of interest get resolved between different individuals - males and females, parents and offspring, or rival siblings? Studying entomology as an undergraduate at the University of Alberta got me hooked on insects, which lead me to a PhD at the University of Toronto. Now at the University of Oxford I use several insects – fruit flies, pond skaters and ladybirds – to study why animals display the intricate and intriguing behaviours that they do.
What do water striders have in common with Game of Thrones?
Game of Thrones, the world created by author George RR Martin, has gone from beloved book series to much watched box set; Murder, sex, dragons, incest and a battle for the throne! What more could you want from a TV series? Science of course!
There just happens to be one tiny bug that embodies all of the complex relationships we see played out in the show – it’s called a Water Strider....