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Department of Zoology


Stub body


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.,  Horrocks, N.P.C. & Kilner, R.M. (2019) Conflict within species determines the value of a mutualism between species. Evolution Letters. DOI: 10.1002/evl3.109 

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
PhD Student

Contact Details

Room F23
01223 (3)34466


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