School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University
PO Box 874601
Tempe, AZ 85287-4601
My research interest is broadly centered on the evolution of complex social systems. I ultimately want to understand the mechanisms regulating the formation and maintenance of heterogeneous societies consisting of individuals varying in genetic relatedness and fitness optimum, as well as the ecological dynamics that select for the emergence of such societies.
Currently I am working on characterizing the sociogenetic structure, founding behavior, and ecological context in the honey ant Myrmecycocystus mendax for my dissertation. So far I found that some populations of M. mendax consist of colonies with genetic signatures consistent with monogyny (i.e. derived from a single mother queen), while others have a mixture of monogynous colonies and colonies with multiple, often unrelated queens. My work has also detected variations in queen behaviors and the social strategies they employed during colony founding and growth, which may contribute to the observed sociogenetic variation.