Larry Gilbert, a professor of integrated biology and the director of the Brackenridge Field Laboratory at the University of Texas will speak about the “Coevolution in a Tropical Food Web” today, as a distinguished lecturer for the department of biological sciences. The UT website said, ” 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.” Jerry Cook, an assistant professor of entomology, anatomy and physiology at SHSU said that Gilbert uses the relationship of butterflies and their host plants to show that the evolution of one species causes the evolution of another. According to the website, Gilbert hopes to understand the context and mechanisms of evolution and coevolution by working across different levels of biology in the same tropical food web. He also wants to understand diversity in rainforests by studying population level events in the system. Dr. Gilbert is interested in applying findings of basic evolutionary ecology to conservation of diversity and better management to agroecosystems, or individual crops or farms. Many of Dr. Gilbert’s graduate students have worked on different or overlapping systems at his main field site in Corcovado Park, Costa Rica. Some of his other students have worked on problems related to species interaction in a variety of places such as Texas and Africa.Gilbert has also guided students in conducting research on insects such as moths and butterflies, or as he calls it, Lepidoptera, a subject in which Gilbert is considered an expert. In an interview in Today at Sam, Jerry Cook said “Larry Gilbert is one of the rare scientists that is an expert in several fields. Dr. Gilbert has directed research on several different groups of plants including passion vines, rainforest cucumber species and piper plants.”Cook also said many of Gilbert’s students have become leading experts. Gilbert currently has 30 students completing their doctrate with him, and he is mentoring seven more doctrate students. Gilbert has also written several publications and received several awards and honors. Dr. Gilbert’s lecture will take place in room 214 in the Lee Drain Building today at 7 p.m.