Evolution of plant defense in exotic plant species

Plants contain chemical compounds that can be deterrent or toxic to insect herbivores. It is thought that the production of these defense compounds is costly. What happens if a plant is introduced in a new area and is suddenly released from its natural enemies? Some plants will make less defense compounds, while other plant species will make more.

In this project we will compared the defenses of different plant populations by performing greenhouse experiments with plants and insects and performing chemical analyses of the plants.

We will try to link this to the presence or absence of insects and pathogens in the field.


At least 6 months. Greenhouse experiments can be done the whole year round, fieldwork/observations from May to September.