Research Assistant Professor
Insect Ecology and Behavior
MSc in Biology, University of Amsterdam (1995), PhD in Entomology, Wageningen University (2000)
My main research interest is to understand speciation through premating signals. Sexual communication between the sexes can be visual (e.g. humans), auditory (e.g. birds) and/or chemical (e.g. insects). In moths, females produce and emit a species-specific chemical signal, i.e. a sex pheromone, to which only males of the same species are attracted. A change in the signal reduces her attraction and thus her chance to get mated and produce offspring. Therefore, a change in the mating signal can only evolve when male response changes concurrently. However, moth female signals and the male responses seem to be two separate traits that are controlled by independent sets of genes. Therefore, it is a challenge to understand how communication channels can change. Such an understanding may give us insight into the process of speciation. Current Research Programs Assessing intraspecific, geographic variation in the pheromone communication of Heliothis virescens and Heliothis subflexa Assessing the role of pheromone components versus pheromone compounds.