Organisational unit profile

Organisms show, both within and between species, a rich diversity in morphological, physiological and behavioural phenotypes. This diversity emerges from the interplay between genetic and non-genetic factors, internally and from the environment, that determine the adaptive capacity of organisms through evolution and through developmental plasticity. Knowledge of these factors is important for understanding the implications of global change, as well as the (developmental) biology of health and disease.

To understand the proximate causes and ecological and evolutionary consequences of phenotypic diversity we integrate molecular, genomic and genetic approaches with physiological and behavioural experimentation, both in the laboratory and in the field. We study a wide array of organisms, such as insects, fish, birds, and mammals, including humans. Some focus areas are:

  • sex determination & reproduction
  • sexual communication & behaviour
  • neurogenetics, functional genetics and population genetics
  • host-parasite interactions, host-microbe interactions & innate immunity
  • life history evolution
  • sensory biology
  • hormone-mediated maternal effects
  • individual differences, lateralization and personality
  • speciation


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