Macroevolution: diversification & trait evolution
Additionally, I am interested in how different phenotypic traits have influenced diversification, and how different groups of species have explored trait space. Presently, much of this work is in collaboration with Kevin Burns, Allison Shultz and Nick Mason as we try to understand how different phenotypic traits have shaped the evolution and diversification of tanagers, a speciose and diverse group of Neotropical birds.
My primary interests lie in understanding how and why species diversity varies across landscapes at a broad scale. What factors may be promoting or inhibiting speciation and extinction? Are the factors that are important for population divergence and isolation also important determinants for diversity patterns at a broader scale? Why do some regions harbor greater diversity than others? I address these questions through a combination of genomics, GIS, field data collection and diversification/phenotypic modeling.
Australia is notable for not only its overall diversity of lizards and snakes, but also for its local diversity, where over 50 species can be found co-occuring in the Australian arid zone. How so many species can co-occur, and how this diversity built up in the first place is a question of interest for me and for the Rabosky lab. I am investigating the influence of habitat structure and connectivity on population genetic structure to get a better understanding of how such communities have formed.
Paleoclimatic modeling & population genetics
With climate datasets and models for the present, past and future, we can investigate how species’ distributions have changed through time, or how they might change in the future. I employ species distribution modeling approaches to help make better sense of genetic patterns in population genetic studies.