Evolution has given rise to the beautifully diverse and complex world we live in today. Yet, we still have a lot we don’t understand about evolution and the processes involved in it. As a PhD Candidate working with Prof. Rosemary Gillespie at University of California Berkeley, I am broadly interested in better understanding the role of behavior and chemical communication in speciation and evolution. Chemical cues are one of the most ancient and widespread modalities of communication – we use it, microbes use it, and many other organisms use it to communicate or sense their natural environment. However, the importance and role of chemical cues in species recognition and reproductive isolation remains largely unknown compared to other more well-studied modalities such as auditory and visual cues. By using a combination of behavioral, chemical, and genomic techniques, my main work focuses on the role of chemical cues in the well-studied adaptive radiation of Hawaiian Tetragnatha spiders, as well as other Tetragantha spider species around the world. I am also working with various undergraduates at UC Berkeley and together exploring other research topics related to behavior, chemical ecology, and evolution.
I wouldn’t have come this far or make it even farther without the endless support and dedication of the many undergraduates that I have been fortunate to work with. We are a team of curious minds and I hope that you can share in our enthusiasm and discovery through this page and our lab Instagram!