Speciation has been a major topic of research for decades and there are some cases where the traits responsible for maintaining barriers between species are well known (e.g., the use of different pollinators in fig wasps, the use of different food resources in Darwin’s finches).
Unfortunately this kind of resolution is missing in many other systems and the existence of stable hybrid zones exemplifies this fact. Hybrid zones are found throughout the natural world. Many are stable, suggesting some form of isolation exists between the groups but in many cases we do not know which traits maintain this stability.
To gain a complete understanding of speciation we must also examine the genetic basis of these traits. We know even less about this topic, especially in non-model organisms. This is a major limitation, as ecological information is frequently lacking for model organisms and they have often been isolated for millions of years.
Our work seeks to fill these fundamental knowledge gaps, integrating new techniques (e.g., light-level geolocators) with traditional approaches (e.g., hybrid zone theory). Much of our work focuses on single systems but wherever possible we broaden the application of our results using comparative analyses.
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