graduate student opportunities
My research aims to determine how competitive and facilitative interactions within plant communities can lead
to increased (or decreased) diversity within angiosperms. While I have tentatively filled all the open positions in my lab until September 2010, I am always interested to discuss opportunities with students and post-docs with external funding. You might consider joining my lab if you are interested
in using experimental and/or comparative phylogenetic approaches to investigate how pollination and sexual systems influence
speciation and extinction rates (examples below).
Ecophylogenetics of pollination
Projects in my lab often address the role of community on reproductive success of plant species (Vamosi et al. 2006), experimental investigations of how pollination (in terms of
pollen limitation, pollinator visitation, and pollen loads per stigma) of a focal species varies along gradients of
increasing (1) disturbance and (2) species (and phylogenetic) diversity of angiosperms.
Mating systems in plants
It is not known to what degree the variation in outcrossing in species is influenced by population size, or the differing
identities and behaviour of pollinators. Previous investigations of the ecological correlates of dioecy indicate that it is a sexual system more prevalent in the tropics (Vamosi et al. 2004) but reasons for this constrained geographical distribution are unknown. While dioecy has been correlated with increased extinction, investigations whether dioecy simply inhabits high-risk rates are warranted.
Macroevolutionary investigations of pollinator shifts in plant diversification
Does competition for pollinators affect specialists more than generalists? Does competition for pollinators lead to specialization
and speciation? Empirical evidence to answer these questions is surprisingly sparse. Speciation and extinction rates can be inferred
from phylogenies and compared between clades with generalist and specialist pollinators. Such estimates
will help unravel the contribution of pollinator shifts to plant speciation and whether specialist pollination leads to higher extinction rates.
Links to my publications can be found here.