- Fisheries-induced evolution
- Applied evolution
- Fish and fisheries ecology
- Life history theory
- Resource economics
A more wordy version:
Ecology is about how nature functions. This complex question can be studied at various levels; what mostly captures my interest is the level of individuals, and populations and communities they belong to. When I see animal (or plants or fungi), I cannot help thinking their place in a larger context: why are they so many or few, small or large, juveniles or adults? Population is hardly ever something one can see, so an observer has to deduce its 'working' from small pieces of information.
Populations today and tomorrow are connected by laws of population dynamics. This provides the basic framework for understanding how populations work, the realm of population ecology. However, this leaves a question why things are as they are? Here evolution by natural selection can provide answers: individuals in populations are shaped by their environment, but they are also shaping their own environment. This is the realm of evolutionary ecology.
Today, we humans are an important part of the environment, particularly for those populations we exploit, notably fish. Fisheries-induced evolution is currently my main research area. As evolution may work against our interests, understanding fisheries-induced evolution is a very important area of applied evolution. At the same time, it provides an opportunity to understand and test the basic principles of life-history theory.
In EvoFish, we are approaching these questions from multiple angles. Traditionally, our strength has been in modelling and statistical analyses of population data. However, we have also two experimental systems, one with guppies and another one with daphnids. These are now reaching maturity, and cool results are sure to follow!