Investigating the evolutionary ecology of plant interactions
We study plant interactions with other organisms, including insect herbivores, microbial symbionts, seed-dispersing bats, and more. Much of our work focuses on the fundamental role of phytochemicals in shaping how plants defend themselves against antagonists and attract effective mutualists. Our research is grounded in field-based studies that range from tropical forests to temperate agroecosystems, and we integrate field work with diverse approaches including analytical chemistry, greenhouse experiments, laboratory bioassays, behavioral experiments with animals, and a diversity of quantitative methods.
In the Whitehead Lab, we stand in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and strongly condemn racism that is painfully affecting Black communities across the US and the entire world. We recognize that, in academia, as in society at large, systemic racism that harms Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color has been ongoing for hundreds of years. We recognize that the burden of combating racism has too long been primarily carried by those that most suffer from these injustices. It’s time for a transformational change, and we believe that our position as educators and mentors gives us an opportunity and a responsibility to make a difference. In the Whitehead Lab, we are united under a shared set of values that strive for an inclusive space for research, teaching, and mentorship. We have also committed to an anti-racism action plan that aims to create more equitable access to opportunities and shape an academic community that is inclusive and supportive of all students.