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.

Updated: August 17, 2020

PhD in Ecology

For my PhD I will return to my island of Guam and 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.

More info coming soon!

Updated: Apr. 29, 2021***Work submitted for publication.

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


Jardeleza, MK, J.B. Koch, I .Pearse, C. Ghalambor and R.A. Hufbauer. "The Roles of Adaptation and Phenotypic Plasticity in Morphology and Performance of an Invasive Species in a Novel Habitat." ***Submitted for publication.

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.