We study the evolution
of diversity and adaptation, using colour patterns in butterflies as a model.
Butterflies have very diverse colour patterns with clear adaptive functions such
as camouflage, sexual signalling, thermoregulation, or advertisement to predators. We are
now just starting to discover how gene networks underlie pattern formation
and its natural variation. This provides the tools towards a better understanding
of the evolution of adaptive traits, and their importance from individual physiology
to the shaping of entire communities.
Photo M. Joron