I am a graduate student at the Farrell lab in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

My thesis work focuses on an ecological group of weevils: those that visit inflorescences of palm trees. Palms usually have big and complex inflorescences that attract thousands of insects when their flowers open. The most prominent visitors in some Neotropical palms are beetles in the family Curculionidae, with several species of weevils being associated with a single species of palm. They specialize on consuming different resources of their host species, with different consequences for the host. Some end up being pollinators, while others are purely parasitic. Interactions between weevils and palms resemble those between figs and wasps, or yuccas and yucca moths, but are currently not as well characterized. I am studying weevil-palm associations in the palm genus Syagrus, combining studies on weevil systematics and natural history with molecular analyses to understand the impact of the different weevil-plant interactions on the generation of genetic divergence and new species.