Current Research

Current Research

I am currently posted at the Hufbauer lab in Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. Our lab focuses on applied evolutionary ecology ( and my projects have focused on biological invasions and the evolutionary ecology of an invasive species. 

Ian, Ruth and I on the beautiful and remote island of Rota, CNMI. Photo by Corey Santos.
Updated: October 16, 2023

PhD in Ecology 

For my PhD returned to Guam to try to disentangle the food-web connections. I am hoping to understand shifts in arthropod abundance, behavior and roles due to the invasion of the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) and loss of native birds. I will look at how insect abundance differ in areas with birds and without birds, the type of predation that is occuring, the roles of new predators in the community, and evaluating possible changes in anti-predator behavior in butterflies. In addition, I am also working with the USGS and the Guam Power Authority to look at how snakes have contributed to the significant power outages that occur on the island.

August 23, 2022

Below is my poster for the Ecological Society of America 2022 Conference in Montreal, Canada. The funny part is that I didn't actually get to attend the conference because I developed acute appendicitis right before my flight to Montreal and had to undergo emergency surgery. Thankfully it was caught early and didn't burst in the middle of me presenting at ESA. My lovely advisor, Ruth Hufbauer, still decided to print my poster and hang it up at the conference. Below are the current findings of my PhD work.



Jardeleza, MK, J.B. Koch, I .Pearse, C. Ghalambor and R.A. Hufbauer. 2021. The Roles of Adaptation and Phenotypic Plasticity in Morphology and Performance of an Invasive Species in a Novel Habitat. Ecological Entomology. 

Koch, J.B., Dupuis, J.R., Jardeleza, M.K., Ouedraogo, N., Geib, S.M., Follett, P.A. and Price, D.K., 2020. Population genomic and phenotype diversity of   invasive Drosophila suzukii in Hawai ‘i. Biological Invasions, pp.1-18.

Manuscripts in Preparation

Clark EI, Roche M, Mauro A, Pearse IS, Durkee L, Olazcuaga L, Jardeleza MK, Karimzadeh J, Norton AP, & Hufbauer RA. Inbreeding depression during biological invasions: A meta-analysis.

Updated: Apr. 29, 2021

MS Ecology Thesis Abstract

The roles of phenotypic plasticity and adaptation in morphology and performance of an invasive species in a novel habitat.

Authors: Marcel-Kate Jardeleza, Jonathan B. Koch, Ian S. Pearse, Cameron K. Ghalambor and Ruth A. Hufbauer 

(1)  As populations encounter and respond to new environments and selection pressures, species introductions provide insights into rapid adaptation and adaptive phenotypic plasticity. However, maladaptive responses are increasingly recognized to also be common in nature. The spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, has rapidly invaded divergent environments providing the opportunity to examine adaptive and maladaptive phenotypic and evolutionary responses to its introduced range.  

(2)  We studied how population density in the field and wing size of individuals varied over an elevational gradient on Hawaii. We then conducted a reciprocal common garden experiment to evaluate how temperature influenced wing size and other correlates of fitness. We did this by reciprocally rearing D. suzukii collected from low and high elevations in temperatures representative of low and high elevation. 

(3)  We observed an elevational cline in wing size, in which wing size increased with elevation. Additionally, flies were more abundant at higher elevation. In the reciprocal common garden experiment, flies emerged faster in the warm, low elevation temperature and developed larger wings in the cool, high elevation temperature. Emergence of flies from high and low elevation sites showed a pattern suggesting maladaptation to the temperature representing their home environment.

(4)  We suggest that opposing selection pressures, the high vagility of flies, and extreme plasticity in body size constrain adaptation to temperature along an elevational gradient. While successful invasive species such as D. suzukii often exhibit local adaptation, this research demonstrates that invasive species can be successful even without such adaptation.

Keywords: phenotypic plasticity; invasive species; reciprocal common garden; Drosophila suzukii; adaptation, temperature size rule

Updated: August 10, 2022

Fieldwork & Lab Interns

I've been so lucky to have many great people helping me with my research and studies. 

My awesome student intern from CSU WechonHpecala“Star” Ray helping me collect D. suzukii. Star was such a hardworking person and my project wouldnt have been successful without her.
My hardworking interns for summer 2021 William Naden and Stephenie Santos celebrating our last collection site with traditional frozen juice and local star fruit! These two were so gung-ho and easy to work with. I was so lucky.
My fantastic summer 2022 interns Corey Santos and Joseph Castro celebrating our last collection site. These two made the hardwork so fun and helped the harsh fieldwork go by quickly. 
Ofcourse, my family have always been my number 1 supporters. I always take them to fieldwork with me at least once every season. As you can see, I get my love to get down and dirty from my mom.