My PhD aims to identify the effect of sexual selection on adaptation rates in changing and novel environments. Sexual selection is ubiquitous in nature, however can vary in intensity between and within species. Identifying whether strong or weak sexual selection is advantageous or disadvantageous in adapting to new environments remains largely unknown despite its widespread importance in identifying vulnerable species to climate change.
I am using the Indian meal moth - Plodia interpunctella as my model species and performing experimental evolution by varying the intensity of sexual selection while simultaneously presenting environmental change, and so an evolutionary hurdle. I am also collaborating with Dr Eleanor Slade (University of Oxford), working on Bornean dung beetle communities found at the SAFE project and assessing the role of sexual selection in the persistence of species within these disturbed habitats.