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Current Research (PhD Thesis):

The chemical senses - taste and smell - are the most ancient senses and are of crucial importance to many animals. The chemical senses directly interfaces with the environment, thus, changes in the environment or a change in a species’ habits, as e.g. specialization, would presumably also lead to changes in the chemosensory system.
The aim of my study is to investigate host choice driven adaptations within the insect olfactory system in response to specialization. Here, my research will address central questions of how olfactory systems adapt and change in response to niche characteristics.
I am working with the genus Drosophila that exhibits an enormous interspecific variation, ranging from extreme specialists to generalists and from endemic to cosmopolitan species. Therefore, the genus is an ideal model to highlight the important principles of how olfactory systems evolve and adapt, as well as the function of specific chemosensory genes.
My research will include methods of different fields, e.g. ecology, genetics, electrophysiology, and behavioural biology.
last updated on 2012-01-16