Professor of Integrative Biology
Keywords: mechanics, evolution
Research Areas: mechanics, evolution, vertebrate systematics, evolutionary biology, phylogenetic analysis, functional morphology, life history evolution, historical biogeography, Bayesian methods, Southeast Asian flying lizards, hummingbirds, population genetics, Southeast Asia
As an Integrative Biologist, my research seeks to connect four fundamental aspects of the evolution of organismal diversity: (1) lineage diversification, (2) historical biogeography, and the influence of (3) morphological and (4) molecular evolution on organismal performance. Although there are a number of approaches that one may utilize in order to gain insight into these processes, my research program is firmly rooted in phylogenetic systematics with a more recent foray into population genetics. Because phylogenetics underpins so much of my research, I have a fifth area of interest – the theory and practice of phylogenetic systematics. Thus, I would describe myself as a phylogenetic systematist with expertise in molecular genetics, phylogenetic comparative methods, and theoretical aspects of phylogenetic analysis, with a strong and growing interest in molecular population genetics.
Two major projects underway in my lab right now include (1) an analysis of the historical biogeography of Sulawesi frogs, lizards, and monkeys based on phylogenetic and coalescent-based population genetic analyses of multilocus sequence data, and (2) a study investigating the molecular evolution of hummingbird globin genes and their relationship with respiratory physiological performance across altitudinal gradients.
Much of my research is dependent upon fieldwork and I maintain an active field program in Southeast Asia. The herpetofauna of Southeast Asia is among the least known and most endangered on the planet and I plan to direct most of my field efforts toward this region for the foreseeable future. Although students with interests close to my own (both conceptually and geographically) are welcome in my lab, I encourage my students to develop independent research programs.