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ERIK PLANTE
MSc CANDIDATE

e-mail: erik.plante@concordia.ca

I received my B.Sc. Honors in Biology and Ecology from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières in June 2020. During my Undergrad, I studied geographic variation in wing color patterns of Catocala moths (Erebidae) and Nymphalidae butterflies. I also performed temperature and pharmacological treatments on many Lepidoptera species to investigate the evolution of the plan of symmetry of wing patterns. As I was studying, I became eager to learn more about how insects can adapt to environmental changes through evolution and development.

 

Excited by the field of ecological evolutionary developmental biology (eco-evo-devo), I formally joined the Abouheif Lab in September 2020. In collaboration with the Lessard Lab from Concordia University (http://jeanphilippelessard.com/), we built an innovative research project, unifying macroecology approaches and evolutionary developmental biology. 
My project aims to establish models of geographic variation in the degree of worker polymorphism in carpenter ant colonies of Camponotus herculeanus in eastern Canada across environmental gradients. Next, I seek to study the relative influence of regional and local processes of such geographic variation.

 

This research will provide new insights into the underlying ecological, evolutionary, and developmental processes that generate intraspecific variation in social phenotypes. Likewise, studying the link between the morphological phenotype of this dominant boreal forest species and different environmental conditions could predict the effect of climate change on the fitness of insect populations in their changing environment. Being able to predict the adaptations of species to cope with climate change can lead to the establishment of better conservation plans.