Research in my lab group is focused on developing an integrative understanding of the impacts of global change on biodiversity, in order to better inform our understanding of evolution, ecology, and conservation. Our work largely relies on museum specimens and integrates population genetic, phylogeographic, phylogenetic, and morphological approaches to address fundamental questions regarding the distribution and maintenance of biodiversity and assess their impact on future conservation needs.
I am currently recruiting graduate students, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Current projects in my lab include:
Historical biogeography and adaptation across the genome
Much of the genomic research in my lab group focuses in understanding the role that intrinsic biological characteristics, historical factors, and chance play in determining the distribution of genetic diversity within species and predicting species’ responses to climate change. We study these trends in a variety of systems, including pikas and bank voles, and use genomic methods and coalescent simulations to examine the role of historical and ecological factors in structuring mammalian biodiversity in those habitats. Our work on this topic includes understanding the historical dynamics of alpine mammals and bank voles, as well as the development of genomic resources for assessing population change.
Ecogeographic variation and change in the Anthropocene
One of the unique aspects of museum collections is that they can provide temporal insights into how populations are responding to anthropogenic changes, such as shifts in habitat or temperature. Tending to be distributional, phenological, or phenotypic in nature, these responses can be important for understanding the potential for phenotypic plasticity and/or rapid adaptive change within a population. Our research on this topic includes quantitative tests of morphological shifts and the factors that drive them, resurveys of historically-documented mammal populations, and evaluation of associated genomic backgrounds to understand phenotypic responses and population shifts in response to climate change. Our recent work on this topic includes using specimens to understand competitive release and assessing the repeatability for specimen-based studies of morphological change.
Biodiversity conservation and education
Research in my lab group also focuses on biodiversity conservation and education, through our work with state agencies, my activities as the co-chair of the IUCN/SSC Lagomorph Specialist Group and my involvement in Squirrel-Net, a group focused on bringing mammal research into undergraduate education. We are involved in projects focused on understanding the spread of white-nose syndrome in Oklahoma, assessing the conservation needs of lagomorphs, and identifying best practices for training the next generation of scientists.