Hi, and welcome to the Fowler-Finn lab!
Here we study sex and survival, and their influence on evolutionary change. We investigate how the traits that we see (phenotypes) vary across biotic and abiotic conditions, as well as how flexibility in phenotypes (plasticity) interacts with patterns of genetic variation and environmental features to alter the course of evolution. We explore these questions with experiments using various insects and arachnids.
Temperature variation and mating behavior in treehoppers
Global warming poses unknown challenges to the abilities of animals to attract and find suitable mates. In this study, we use Enchenopa binotata treehoppers to better understand the plasticity of male signals and female preferences in response to temperature changes, as well as their potential consequences for reproduction.
Environmental, Physiological, and Social Drivers of Mating Behavior
The harvestmen of North America exhibit high diversity in mating behavior across even closely related species. In this study, behavior is compared across species, as well as across geographically separated populations of a single species, in order to better understand the determinants and dynamics of mating behavior.
The physiological and behavioral ways that arthropods detect and escape predators
Attracting mates and finding food can be risky when predators are around. In this study, we explore 1) the types of "sensory cues" (e.g. sight, sound, or chemicals) that prey use to detect predation threats; 2) how individuals change their behavior when a predator is around to avoid detection; and 3) the behavioral, physiological, and physical tactics that individuals use to escape an attack.