Supported by the DFG Emmy Noether program, and as of January 2020 the ERC, our research  is currently focused on the evolutionary ecology and genetics of mate choice. Relative to morphological traits, the genetics of behavioural differences observed in nature have not been well characterized. This is especially true for behaviours that contribute to the evolution of new species.

We want to know how behavioural isolation evolves, and how genetic factors and ecology interact to influence this process. To address these questions we work with   Heliconius butterflies, which show a striking radiation of warning patterns across the Neotropics often associated with Müllerian mimicry. These warning colour patterns are also used as mate recognition cues and are associated with diverging preference behaviours contributing to varying degrees of assortative mating. Our work combines long-term field and insectary based projects in the tropics with modern genomic and genetic techniques. More coming soon …