Adaptive Signals in the Evolution of Vertebrate Eyes
My primary goal is to improve the understanding of the evolution of phenotypic diversity. The main study system of my research is the vertebrate eye, which consists of a variety of different components, such as the cornea and lens, photoreceptors, other retinal neurons, and visual pigments, all of which jointly interact to form the basis of vision. How do these phenotypic traits evolve in the context of the organism's photic environment? Given the complex interactions between these components of vertebrate eyes, my research follows an integrative approach. I study eye evolution in a range of different major vertebrate radiations, collecting data in both living and extinct species with a variety of techniques. In this seminar, we will explore the adaptive evolution of eyes in water-to-land (early tetrapods and mudskippers) and nocturnal-diurnal transitions (teleost fish, geckos, and dinosaurs).