Student projects in evolutionary ecology at University of Copenhagen at Institut for Plante- og Miljøvidenskab - Københavns Universitet

In the Applied Evolutionary Ecology Group our research focuses on co-evolution in mutualistic and parasitic interactions, and we are particularly interested in the underlying genetic factors that influence the evolutionary processes of adaptation and govern the outcome of species interactions. In our research, we try to address questions using a combination of field and experimental work coupled with microbiology, molecular and bioinformatic techniques.

Some of the central research questions are: What are the molecular mechanisms behind pathogen host specificity and how does it evolve? How do pathogens evolve and adapt following a host shift? How do standing genetic variation and phenotypic plasticity influence pathogen host-shifts? How do microbial pathogens take control of their host to increase transmission? How does trade-offs that lead to constraints in adaptive responses evolve, and how may such constraints be removed?

We use fungi as models to answer our fundamental questions and the fungi that we study are obligate or facultative pathogens of plants or insects. Some have very narrow host ranges only infecting a single or very few host insects in nature, whereas others are generalists capable of infecting insects from many different orders. Because the host range in many cases can be experimentally manipulated in the lab, these characteristics allow us to study host-pathogen co-evolution and adaptation following host shifts in real-time.

We're looking for dedicated students to join us for an experimental and/or computational project at all levels - PUK to MSc thesis. Please contact us for more details!

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