Phenotypic Evolution

Adaptive evolution of the phenotypes of plants and animals is a natural focus for research at STRI, where the tropical environment –marine, freshwater, and terrestrial—is replete with opportunities for detailed and comparative studies of behavior, specialized structures, life-history traits, and physiological responses. Behavior studies at STRI have illuminated evolution by social and sexual selection of aggressive and sexual displays during a long history of research on primates, birds, fishes, frogs, crocodiles, lizards, crustaceans and insects (see section on Behavior). In addition, there is a strong tradition of research on plant specializations under selection for physiological and morphological diversification in response to wet-dry seasons, plant predators, and interactions with pollinators. We also study the contribution of phenotypic diversification to speciation and macroevolution, supported by excellent facilities for molecular studies of phylogeny, laboratory studies of underlying physiological mechanisms, and long-term environmental monitoring.

Staff scientists researching Phenotypic Evolution