We use experimental evolution and phylogenic analysis to identify how mutualisms respond to radical changes in their environment. Our aim is to identify the evolutionary selection pressures that shape symbiont communities and ultimately to identify approaches to conserve mutualisms in the face of environmental change.
Mechanisms stabilizing cooperation
Cooperate or defect? We use theory and empirical work to identify factors, such as punishment and reciprocal trade, that help stabilize cooperation among species. Model systems include plant-microbe mutualisms (Global), pollination mutualisms (Japan), and ant-plant mutualisms (Kenya).
We are interested in the accessibility and conservation of plant and microbial genetic resources, and strategies to promote innovation in farming systems. We ask how can evolutionary theory be applied to agricultural systems using a ‘Darwinian Agriculture’ framework.