Chemical Ecology & Evolution

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!

What’s New!?

  • Exploratorium Everything Matters – Copper

    On May 17th, 2018 I was invited to speak at the Exploratorium's Everything Matters event series hosted by Exploratorium's Ron Hipschman. Everything Matters is a monthly lecture series that explores each month a new [...]

  • Summer Research Update 2018

    This year, Monica Wilkinson applied and successfully received funding from the College of Natural Resources' SPUR program to conduct her own independent research in Hawaii. Monica and I then traveled to Hawaii in June [...]

  • Exploratorium After Dark – Animal Appetite

    On November 9th, 2017 our lab was invited to come present our work at the Exploratorium's After Dark event titled "Animal Appetite" where researchers were invited to talk about all things "appetite" from learning [...]