Evolution of insect host plant utilization and life history: a hierarchical approach

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2012
End date: 31/12/2014
Funding: 2400000 SEK


Insect host plant utilization is a major research area in evolutionary biology, but also in applied biology because of the great ecological and economical importance of such associations. The overall goals of the project are to illuminate how host plant utilization and associated life history traits evolve, and to investigate if and how diversity in host use by phytophagous insects has contributed to the biodiversity of such species, including the role of phenotypic plasticity in this process of diversification. Over the coming grant period I aim to primarily make use of the new phylogenetic information from butterflies for comparative studies testing the generality of my earlier findings, but I combine approaches at several levels in the biological hierarchy: I will thus continue using the comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album) as a model organism for experiments and investigations illuminating the evolution of host plant range, and I will continue my efforts to develop a novel functional genomics approach, aiming to find the actual genes involved in host plant utilization by the comma butterfly and its close relatives, in order to eventually investigate the distribution of these genes in a wider phylogenetic context.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:59