Phylogeography, Landscape and Ecological Genetics

Phylogeography, Landscape and Ecological Genetics

We use population genetic and genomic approaches to study the patterns and levels of genetic differentiation among populations within a species and investigate the evolutionary, behavioral, and ecological forces that shape the observed patterns, including understanding the impact of environmental changes. Some of the projects listed under the headings Conservation Genetics and Evolutionary Genetics of Vector and Parasite Populations also fall into this broad category. Check the other listings for more details.

Evolutionary and ecological genetics of Alewives populations Alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus, populations occur in two discrete life history variants, an anadromous form and a landlocked (freshwater resident) form. Landlocked populations display a consistent pattern of life history divergence from anadromous populations, including earlier age at maturity, smaller adult body size, and reduced... Read more
The Owl Monkey Project of Argentina is an international research program that studies Azara’s owl monkey (Aotus azarae), a socially monogamous primate, to better understand the evolution of pair-bonding, monogamy, and paternal care. The project is using genetic and demographic data from owl monkeys to assess patterns of relatedness and natal dispersal and to evaluate how the competition... Read more
Mary Burak’s dissertation research uses a landscape genetics approach to measure the effects of human land use and activity on apex predator populations in the Ewaso Ecosystem of north-central Kenya. Here, tension remains high surrounding tradeoffs between predator conservation and human land development. Mary’s doctoral research asks, “How does human activity and land use affect predator... Read more
  We are investigating the population genetics of wood frog, Rana sylvatica, and spotted salamander, Ambystoma maculatum, populations throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. This study is using landscape genetic techniques and analyses to understand the influence of landscape features on amphibian dispersal, and the demographic and evolutionary consequences of varying levels of gene flow. This... Read more
Nisha Ligon former Yale Undergraduate studied microgeographic variation in growth and development rates of wood frog populations. Nisha performed a common garden experiment to compare growth and development rates between individuals from ponds of varying temperature and canopy cover and used microsatellite analysis to look at the genetic connectivity of those populations.  Nisha is happily ... Read more
The genus Eliurus is the most speciose among native Malagasy rodents. Unfortunately, very little is known about its evolutionary history and its taxonomy is problematic. This project focused on a species complex within the genus, the E. antsingy and had two main objectives: (1) to contribute to the elucidation of taxonomic issues and evolutionary relationships among these species; and (2) to... Read more
Meghan Avolio, former EEB graduate student was interested in understanding if genetic diversity of dominant species is affected by environmental conditions. Specifically, she assessed whether the genotypic diversity of Andropogon gerardii was impacted by simulated climate change and how the genetic diversity of dominant species is affected by environmental conditions. Ultimately, she hoped to... Read more
Cynthia Chang, former EEB graduate student, examined the role of diversity at both the community and population level on invasion resistance and productivity in the tallgrass prairie. At the population level, she looked at the relationship between genotype and phenotype variation in Big Bluestem, a dominant species in the tallgrass prairie; At the community level, she looked at the relationship... Read more
Former Yale Graduate Student and Postdoc, Torrance “Torrie” Hanley, carried out part of her research in the MSCG Lab. While here she was interested in Daphnia life history and stoichiometry, in particular the effects of manipulating resource quantity/quality and predator presence/absence on Daphnia life history response and elemental composition.  Her research included a lab experiment to tease... Read more
Dr. Lisa Stout former Postdoc in the laboratory of Dr. Ruth Blake usined molecular techniques to address questions in microbial ecology in geologically active environments. Dr. Stout’s research focused on the volcanic Sulphur Springs of St. Lucia, West Indies.  She studied how geochemical variations between hot spring pools may affect microbial diversity. In order to assess diversity of both... Read more

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