Photo of Maartje Liefting
20082020

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Research

My area of interest is evolutionary ecology. I combine ecological, behavioral, genetic and molecular approaches to investigate basic questions in biology. I have previously worked on patterns in phenotypic plasticity of traits in response to temperature. I currently focus on the question how the environment can shape the learning behavior (picking up on environmental cues) and memory (using the acquired information at a different point in time) of an organism. I work with parasitic wasps as these organisms often display complex behavior associated with learning and memory. Most parasitic wasps can learn to use varying environmental cues and adjust their behavior accordingly, but it is yet unclear to what extent the speed of learning for each of these different behaviors can evolve independently and what type of costs are involved with different learning abilities.

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