© 2016 biological interactions

Department of Botany and Zoology


biological interactions

Our working group is inspired by Darwin’s contemplation of an entangled bank of elaborately constructed forms, dependent on, and interacting with one another. Members of our group have interests in the form and function of plants and how their ecology, evolution and diversification is shaped by  selective agents spanning fungi and bacteria to pollinators and herbivores, as well as the abiotic environment.  Similarly the ecological and evolutionary effects of plants on the morphology and community structure of the organisms that interact with them are a logical extension of these interests. We examine the forces that drive variation in the structure of communities, and how those different communities drive variation between populations.  The loop is closed by identifying patterns and causes of diversity in plants and the organisms with which they interact.

Key research topics: above and below-ground interactions; coevolution; competition; evolution; ecology; pollination; fire; geographic variation; herbivory; palynology; plant and insect diversity; plant mating systems; polyploidy; seed dispersal; seed germination; speciation