Testing the most fundamental hypotheses in chemical ecology.
The chemical ecology program faculty and students conduct research that tests the most fundamental hypotheses in chemical ecology. Theoretical predictions and very limited empirical data suggest that the associations between phytochemical diversity, biological activity, herbivore diversity,and pressure from natural enemies should be strong yet complex.
We test specific hypotheses about these relationships using a combination of statistical and other modeling approaches. The laboratory and analytical tools developed by our collaborative group coupled with access to stunning ecological diversity and museum collections will help us discover new phytochemicals, examine the genetic basis of phytochemical defense, and demonstrate how geographic variation in phytochemical diversity shapes ecological communities and microevolutionary processes.