Roderick Research

Of particular interest are two related topics related to biodiversity science: the ecology of biological invasions and the history and structure of populations. The work addresses both basic and applied questions, taking advantage of the opportunities associated with the geography of Pacific Basin, Pacific Islands, and Pacific Rim, including California and Asia.

Our research includes studies of the origins of endemic, indigenous and non-indigenous organisms, processes associated with colonization and invasion, and population structure, including identification of management units, conservation, sustainability, and biodiversity science. Some of this work deals with older colonizations and deeper history, such as the assembly of ecological communities in the islands of the Pacific and the roles of geography and climate change in the structure of insect populations.  Other work examines the recent colonizations of biological invasions. We use a diversity of tools in this work, including genomics, population genetics, GIS, and climate modeling.

Related research examines the role of population subdivision and host use in the formation of species and in the conservation status of arthropods. I collaborate with Rosemary Gillespie on studies of biodiversity and adaptive radiation of Pacific Island terrestrial arthropods.

Another emphasis concerns trophic interactions–how they come to be and how they change and evolve over time. These issues are fundamental to processes of colonization and establishment of organisms in novel environments, particularly in the context of global change. Such processes are important not only in natural settings, for example as organisms colonize new areas or switch to new hosts, but also in managed systems, where such factors determine the impact of biological invasions and the successes and failures of biological control. We use many tools in this work, including field manipulations, population genetics/genomics, and computational approaches.

Organisms under study in California include both indigenous and non-indigenous organisms, mainly insects and other terrestrial arthropods. In Hawaii, French Polynesia, and the Pacific, my students and I are studying endemic insects associated with plants in the Hawaiian silversword alliance and other hosts, as well as the effects and origins of non-indigenous arthropods. Much of this work is based at UCB’s Gump South Pacific Research Station. Of particular interest are fruit flies in the family Tephritidae (Diptera, Trupanea, Bactocera, Ceratitis), planthoppers in the family Delphacidae (Hemiptera, Nesosydne), and the glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis (formerly, H. coagulata), Cicadellidae (Hemiptera).  Related projects focus on the population biology of rice pests (planthoppers, stemborers) in SE Asia and Colorado potato beetle and relatives (Leptinotarsa) in the US and Northern Mexico.

Current and recent projects:

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