Our lab’s focus is on the evolutionary ecology of interactions between microbes and hosts. We are interested in how both beneficial and harmful microbes establish and maintain relationships with their hosts. Such associations are shaped by ecological limitations on host and symbiont range, evolutionary trade-offs for both hosts and microbes, and host immunology. We combine genomic and experimental approaches to study these forces in diverse insect-microbe systems. To address these topics, we utilize the versatility of systems in which both the hosts and their microbial partners and pathogens can be maintained in the laboratory.
Postdoc Scott Villa tried to blend in amongst the insects in his incubator today, wearing a monarch inspired mask. Unfortunately, the squash bugs were not fooled.
Scott works both in the de Roode lab, studying sexual selection in monarch butterflies and in the Gerardo lab, studying hybridization and speciation in squash bugs. Sometimes, he gets confused and mixes the two together.