How do individuals integrate social and environmental cues to make reproductive decisions such as partner choice, level of sexual promiscuity, fecundity and egg-laying sites. We seek to answer these questions at the molecular and cellular level, but are also interested in the implications that genetic variation and adaptation to environmental conditions have on the evolution of social behaviours and mating systems.
- Functional genetics: transgenes construction, development of Gal4 lines for Cell-type specific targeting, RNAi, mutant generation, site selected mutagenesis.
- Gene expression: Immunofluorescence, microscopy, epifluorescence and Confocal, RT-PCR.
- Pheromonal analysis and bioassay, especially of Cuticular Hydrocarbons. We have a gas-chromatograph with a robotic arm and bioassays to test the function of individual pheromones on behaviour.
- Reproductive behaviours phenotyping: male courtship, sperm competition, female sexual receptivity (including a medium-throughput assay for female mating rate determination), female fecundity, egg-laying site choice, aggregation, and other reproductive behaviours.
- Temperature-driven behaviours. We have developed an arena that allows testing the effect of temperature in time and space on the behaviour of small insects. It can, for instance, be used to determine temperature reaction curves on locomotor behaviour (paper just about to be submitted). A computer controls the temperature shifting and automatically tracks and quantify the behavioural response of the fly.