Do plants age? Do stressful conditions during early-life influence late-life performance? What traits across the lifecycle are most critical to the persistence of a species that is found in a very limited geographic area? When a novel, invasive, species is integrated into an existing community, can the native species adapt to coexist with this new competitor? How much variation in inbreeding does one species show over time and across environments? These are some of the questions that we have recently studied in my lab and they are linked together under the general umbrella of investigating the role of natural selection in shaping variation in mortality and reproduction in natural populations. We have used several species to research these questions because different species are more experimentally tractable for different questions. Each of these experimental systems is providing us with new insights that advance our understanding about how natural selection shapes the evolution of traits across all species.
See also: Faculty