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Comparative Phylogeography in a Young and Ancient Land

New Zealand has long fascinated biogeographers because of its long-term geographic isolation and young, physically dynamic landscape.  This region is thus ideal for investigating how environmental change, dispersal and vicariance have shaped genetic patterns within and among species.  We are using genomic methods to study the drivers of concordance (and lack thereof) in phylogeographic patterns among forest beetles which have coexisted in these landscapes for millennia.

 
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Assembly History of Ecological Communities

We are investigating the continental-scale phylogeographic structure of North American and European amphibians to assess whether the historical events which generated these patterns have also left their mark on the species composition of local communities via their influence on the species pool.  This project integrates data and methods from phylogeography and community ecology, including survey data from approximately 7,000 amphibian communities, to shed insights into the role of past dispersal in shaping contemporary patterns of species coexistence. This project was initiated with support from the Villum Foundation Young Investigators Programme.

 
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Large-scale Patterns in Phylogeography

Phylogeography unites the genetic and spatial tools necessary to understand the history of a species within its place.  Replicated across species, these allow us to investigate the role of such drivers as climatic stability and dispersal in the generation and maintenance of genetic diversity and divergence, from regional to global scales.  Via synthesis of continental and global datasets, we are able make new inroads into these and other long-standing questions, and assess current and future threats to this ‘new’ aspect of biodiversity. This work is part of a long-term collaboration with my colleague David Nogués-Bravo (Copenhagen).

 

Oklahoma Comparative Phylogeography

We are interested in establishing local projects which take advantage of the incredibly diverse array of natural environments in the Interior Highlands and Southern Plains--all within a few hours of OU!  This is a great opportunity for students interested in comparative phylogeography and the chance to do local field work.