Research: Alex works on the evolutionary genetics of a variety
of organisms and prefers those with lots of genetic data and an
interesting ecological context. He enjoys analysis and writing
computer code in the pursuit of a better understanding of speciation
Teaching: Evolutionary Biology, Computational Biology and Ecological Genetics
Ph.D. student, Program in Ecology
Monia is interested in the processes of plant adaptation and speciation. She seeks evolutionary and biogeographic explanations for why a plant is living where it is, how it ended up there and what made it possible for it to adapt to its environment. She is working in the areas of ecological genetics and physiological ecology. Her initial focus involves the dynamics of hybridization in North American spruce and how hybrids can contribute to our understanding of the genetics of ecological differences between species.
Ph.D. student, Program in Ecology
Liz is interested in speciation, adaptation, and hybridization in aquatic systems, primarily in fish. She is working initially on sucker hybridization in the Colorado river basin in the mountain west. She is also currently developing her Bayesian modeling skills and collaborating with Tom Parchman on a constructing a large linkage map for lodgepole pines.
Postdoctoral research scientist
Tom’s research is at the interface of ecology and evolutionary biology, specifically in the ecological processes that underlie population divergence, speciation, coevolution, and adaptive radiation. His work utilizes field and experimental techniques to quantify natural selection and resulting trait evolution, and molecular markers to address questions involving natural genetic variation and the genetic basis of adaptive evolution. Much of Tom's research has focused on crossbills (Aves: Loxia) and different conifers on which they specialize, and has investigated the contribution of geographically structured coevolution to the diversification of crossbills. Recently initiated work involves phylogeographical and population genomic studies of lodgepole pine, and investigations into the genetic control of important adaptive traits, most notably cone serotiny.
Former lab members
Ph.D. student, Program in Ecology (now a postdoctoral researcher at Texas State University-San Marcos with Chris Nice)
Zach is broadly interested in hybridization, both as an
opportunity to dissect components of reproductive isolation and for
its creative role in homoploid hybrid speciation. His current
empirical research involves hybridization and experimental evolution
in Lycaeides butterflies. He also develops analytical
approaches in collaboration with Alex.
Research scientist (now a Ph.D. student at Texas State University-San Marcos with Chris Nice)
Lauren is interested in speciation, hybridization, and phylogeography. She is investigating the contribution of morphological characters to reproductive isolation in Lycaeides butterflies. As part of this research, she is working to identify genetic and developmental constraints on the evolution of wing patterns. Lauren also studies the phylogeographic history of aquatic taxa endemic to aquifers in central Texas. The primary aim of this research is to understand how the history of population divergence and patterns of gene flow vary among taxa with different life histories. This work will inform management decisions for the endangered and threatened populations of these taxa. Furthermore, in collaboration with other scientists and teachers, she has developed lessons for the secondary science classroom based on her research.
Research assistant (recently complete M.S. at the University of Colorado with Becca Safran)
Brittany worked in the lab for two years, first as an
undergraduate and then as a research assistant. With Tom she worked
on genetic variation in lodgepole pine and with Alex she completed
two projects on population genetic variation in different species
of Penstemon. She is now a graduate student at the
University of Colorado, where she is applying her lab skills to
behavioral ecology questions.
Ph.D. student, Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences
Qiurong was a Ph.D. student (2007--2012) in the laboratory and pursued projects related to historical recombination in natural hybrid populations. Qiurong moved to Jun Ren's laboratory at the University of Wyoming at the end of 2012.