Mhd. Shadi Khudr

Berlin, Germany

I am an evolutionary ecologist working at crossroads of ecology, evolution, genetics and agronomy; with keen interest in the influence of intra-specific genetic variation effects on host plants of economic value and their associated faunal communities.

I am highly interested in the interplay between potent ecological forces (such as competition and predation) and community genetic effects (comprised by within-species genetic variability).

Currently, my focus as a post-doctoral visiting research scholar at the Free University of Berlin is on the coevolutionary dynamics of intraguild interactions amongst invert natural enemies across mono- and multi-varietal agricultural plant mixes. I also examine GxGxE interactions in the light of above-below ground effects. I have also investigated the effects of intra- and inter-specific genetic variation in Brassica and Arabidopsis on green peach aphid and vice versa — in the light of soil-community feedback and ecological disturbance. I carry out a multi-facet empirical work with an aim to gradually increase the complexity of the trophic systems under focus.

During my academic affiliation with The University of Manchester Doctoral+Postdoctoral+Visiting Scientist), a focus research has been on Community Genetics (CG) as a platform for ecological interactions, where I explored how a significant portion of the environment of a focal species is differentially defined by the expressed genomes of other interacting species.

Using a quantitative genetic experimental design I have quantified a differential impact of a genotype on the behaviour of another hetero-specific genotype. As such, I provide some of the clearest evidence on the emergence of shared (extended) phenotypes between natural enemies liable to co-evolutionary arms-race. I also conducted research on epiphytic bromeliads and their associated faunal communities in the Meso-American tropics. Afterwards, I investigated the influence of varying levels of heavy metal pollution on the fitness and parental care in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides.

All in all, my research adds new evidence to the increasing literature on the evolutionary importance of phenotypic plasticity, (GxG) and (GxGxE) interactions in shaping the dynamics of communities under varying environmental stimuli.

I am very much looking forward to developing innovative ideas together.

  • Work
    • Free University Berlin