Primary Research Interests
Much of our current research seeks to link long-term anthropogenic changes with changes in biological attributes of wild populations. In particular, we are interested in the incorporation of genetic and other data from museum specimens, historical records, and archeological sources into models of how changes in human management of landscapes have altered the genetic profiles of species. These studies currently have two foci, one in Africa and the other in the Sierra Nevada in California. We are in the process of examining phylogeographic patterns in west and central African vertebrates in a temporal context, by using the mammalian and herpetological holdings of the AMNH Lang-Chapin expedition and several other institutions, and currently have two projects underway in the Tahoe Basin in the Sierras examining temporal patterns of genetic structure of small mammals (chipmunks and pika) and climate change impacts on metapopulation dynamics over the past century.
In another vien, we are analyzing genetic data from Crocodylus niloticus in Madagascar to look at patterns of recent colonization. One hypothesis that we are testing is that synergistic impacts associated with the arrival of humans and Nile crocodiles may have resulted in the extinction of the endemic Malagasy horned crocodile (Voay robustus).
Current Graduate Student research topics:
Andrea Aplasca- Island biogeography and genetics of the Allan Cays Blue Iguana
Seth Cunningham- Comparative phylogeography of Central and West African Vertebrates
Stephanie Dowell- Phylogenetic analysis of Nile Monitor lizards for monitoring invasive species
Christina Frare- Temporal genetic analysis of Tahoe Basin small mammals
Amanda Makkay- In-situ and ex-situ conservation genetics of Snow Leopards (Uncia uncia)
Urban Barcoding Team- Metapopulation dynamics of red backed salamanders in NYC parks