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Laura Jane Michie

Research Interests

LJ's Ph.D. is a study of colour polymorphism in three species of ladybird, including the invasive harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis. As ladybirds are aposematic (brightly coloured in order to advertise a chemical defence), the presence of conspicuously different colour patterns is unexpected. The theory of Mullerian mimicry predicts that individuals of distasteful species, such as ladybirds, would resemble each other, generally with bright 'memorable' colours, in order to accelerate the rate at which naive predators learn of their unpalatability and thereafter avoid them; i.e. they should be monomorphic. Her work aims to elucidate the selective forces responsible for the maintenance of polymorphism in each species.

LJ's main academic interest could be loosely described as 'adaptive evolution'. Other areas she is interested in and has 'dabbled in', through reading or teaching, include sexual selection, the evolution of sex, speciation and human evolution. Diversity is the spice of life!


2006 - present Ph.D. in Evolutionary Genetics

2003-2006 B.A. (Hons.) in Natural Sciences at Clare College, Cambridge. Final year subject: Genetics