Genomic tools have revolutionized biology and our ability to understand genetic processes in natural populations. Our lab studies a wide range of questions in population genomics, including the genetics of adaptation, population structure and phylogeography, disease resistance, the genetic basis of complex phenotypes, hybridization, and demographic reconstruction. We use a common set of molecular techniques such as Restriction site-Associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) and whole-genome sequencing, combined with computational and bioinformatic tools, in species such as sagebrush, trout, island scrub jays, tamarisk leaf beetles, wolves, and more.
Evolutionary genomic approaches have powerful applications to conservation of species and ecosystems. Ongoing projects include predicting population responses to transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils, genetic diversity and inbreeding in the Hawaiian goose, hybridization and genetic rescue in Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits, and predicting spread and adaptation of a biocontrol agent.
The explosion of population genomic data from non-model organisms, made possible by techniques like RADseq, has outstripped our understanding of genomic evolution and our ability to make sense of the data. To bridge this gap, we are combining experimental evolution in yeast with next-generation sequencing to test hypotheses and improve our powers of inference about natural populations from population genomic data.
Members of the lab are involved in several projects developing novel theory, analytical tools, or simulation approaches to understand evolutionary processes. Projects have focused on quantitative genetic models of variation, dimensionality of reproductive isolation and local adaptation, and mate choice.