My name is Hanna ten Brink and I’m in my second year of my PhD. I work in the Theoretical ecology group at the University of Amsterdam where I study the evolution of complex life cycles.
Approximately 80% of the animal species undergo a metamorphosis during their life cycle. Additionally, a large proportion of species without a metamorphosis have a clear shift in diet during their ontogeny. Although ontogenetic changes in diet and morphology are widespread in the animal kingdom, it is not well understood why they have evolved.
It is thought that ontogenetic changes in diet were the first step in evolutionary history towards more complex life cycles with a metamorphosis. Therefore, my project aims to understand which ecological conditions can promote the evolution of ontogenetic diet shift. Currently I study the effect of a generalist or a stage-specific predator on the evolution of diet shifts in the consumer species.