Dr. Gilbert's current research ranges from the analysis of coevolved traits of insects and plants to experimental population dynamics and developmental genetics of mimetic color patterns in Heliconius butterflies. By working across different levels of biology in the same tropical food web, he hopes to understand both the context and the mechanisms of evolution and coevolution. By carefully studying population-level events in the system, he hopes to understand rain forest diversity in terms of why low density species persist and coexist with congeners locally. Many of his graduate students have worked on different or overlapping systems at his main field site in Corcovado Park, Costa Rica; others have pursued related problems of species interaction in a variety of sites from Texas to Africa. He is also interested in applying findings of basic evolutionary ecology to conservation of diversity and better management to agroecosystems.
More information - see also the Gilbert Lab web page.