How do nervous systems evolve and adapt to extreme environments?
Evolution through natural selection has shaped nervous systems to generate behaviors. However, there are very few opportunities to study neural circuit evolution where the ancestral and derived forms, as well as the adaptive environment, are all known and accessible. I study neuroecology, the synthesis of neuroethological and ecological principles to understand the evolution of neural adaptation. In my research, I concentrate my efforts into a three-pronged approach that examines the evolution of circuitries, molecular mechanisms of behavior, and sensory novelty. This integrative approach links a detailed characterization of the environment with the anatomy and function of neural systems within a phylogenetic context.
My lab's research goal is to determine the rules for neural adaptation to extreme environments, specifically in cavefishes, by incorporating ecological and neuroethological approaches.
Video my Charles Marchand