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Syuan-Jyun Sun

Syuan-Jyun Sun

PhD Student

Room F23
Office Phone: 01223 (3)34466


I am a PhD student supervised by Professor Rebecca Kilner. Before starting my PhD in 2015, I graduated from National Taiwan University with a BSc in Plant Pathology and Microbiology, followed by a MSc in Entomology. My previous research focused on the proximate and ultimate causes of social evolution in burying beetles Nicrophorus nepalensis Hope, while working with Dr. Sheng-Feng Shen in the Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica.

Research Interests

I am particularly interested in understanding species interactions in a rapidly changing world, which becomes more crucial in the face of climate change. By applying lab and field experiments, I aim to explore how and why interactions between burying beetles and phoretic mites shift from one population to another (i.e. from mutualistic to parasitic;), elaborating on the effects of spatially variable biotic and abiotic factors. My research will clarify the unresolved community effects on host-symbiont interactions under environmental gradients, and will further provide better understanding of diverse ways in which hosts and symbionts interact in nature. My current research areas are:

  1. Local adaptation and the outcome of symbiotic interaction
  2. The potential benefits and costs of symbiotic interaction within family
  3. The ecological drivers of symbiotic interaction

My PhD is funded by the Taiwan Cambridge Scholarship via the Cambridge Trust and the Ministry of Education, Taiwan. Part of my research is also funded by the Rosemary Grant Awards, Society for the Study of Evolution. 




Key Publications

SunS. J., Rubenstein, D. R., Chen, B. F., Chan, S. F., Liu, J. N., Liu, M., Hwang, W., Yang, P. S. & Shen, S. F. (2014). Climate-mediated cooperation promotes niche expansion in burying beetles. eLife DOI: 10.7554/eLife.02440 (highlighted at eLife homepage)