My PhD research focuses on two species of Heliconius: H. elevatus and H. pardalinus. Despite being recently diverged sister species they have strikingly different colour patterns, with H. pardalinus part of the Silvaniform mimicry ring and H. elevatus in the dennis rayed mimicry ring. Using two sympatric colour pattern races this was previously shown to be a result of the adaptive introgression of colour pattern genes from a third species.
My work now builds on this past research to investigate the role of this adaptive introgression in the speciation of H. elevatus from H. pardalinus. At the moment my work is focused on uncovering the contribution of different mate recognition and choice mechanisms to reproductive isolation between the species. However, further work will then investigate the genetic control of these divergent colour patterns, through QTL analysis, and subsequently investigate colour pattern variation within H. elevatus to explore the possibility that this originated through multiple adaptive introgression events.
The University of York (2013 – 2016)
NERC quota funded PhD: Biology
University College London (2011 – 2012)
Mres Biosciences: Biodiversity and Evolution – Distinction
Sheffield University (2008 – 2011)
BSc (Hons) Zoology – 2:1