Himani Sachdeva








Research Interests

Most natural populations occupy extended habitats characterised by spatially and temporally varying ecological conditions. While this provides opportunities for individuals inhabiting different parts of the habitat to become locally adapted and evolve specialization, the exchange of individuals and genetic material between different regions of the habitat may also potentially destroy local adaptation. I am mainly interested in exploring how these two opposing processes shape evolutionary outcomes within heterogenous habitats,  and am currently working on two projects which focus on somewhat different questions within this broad theme. The first project has to do with understanding when two  populations subject to diversifying selection and homogenising gene flow evolve assortative ('like with like') mating, and eventually form distinct biological species. The second project deals with understanding when an island population subject to an influx of maladapted phenotypes from the mainland can establish a viable, locally-adapted population by evolving self-fertilisation. A common theme in both projects is to incorporate ecological complexity into genetic models of traits determined by a large number of genes. 

My background is in statistical physics and I also have a general interest in how statistical physics approaches may be used to gain insight  into co-operative phenomena in biology.