Phylogenomics, populations genomics, and hybridization in Thamnophis.

Populations of three species of garter snakes (Thamnophis) along western North American engage in a coevolutionary ‘arms race’ with Pacific newts (Taricha). These populations of garter snakes have evolved resistance to the defensive mechanism of their prey the Pacific newt, tetrodotoxin (TTX). The interaction between these species has allowed them each to evolve exaggerated phenotypes of resistance and toxicity. I am using Genotyping-by-Sequencing (GBS) to exam the underlying genetic structure of three species (Th. atratus, Th. couchii, and Th. elegans) to understand the role of gene flow in shaping the geographic variation in the phenotypic interface of coevolution.

Sea slug population genomics

My research focuses on the role of dispersal, geography, and environmental variation in shaping population structure by quantifying genome-wide variation in two sympatric nudibranch species, Hopkin’s rose (Okenia rosacea) and Hilton’s Aeolid (Phidiana hiltoni).  Sympatric distribution and alternative developmental strategies observed in these two species allows the opportunity to test responses to changing environments by analyzing how environmental variation (e.g. geographic barriers) and life history strategies influence population structure in marine invertebrates.

Nudibranch phylogenetics and systematics.

The vast diversity in ecology, defensive strategies, natural history, and biology have made the Nudibranchia a model group of study in different fields of research.  My areas of interest involve investigating the groups evolution history and testing hypotheses of dispersal, phenotypic plasticity, and color evolution using genomics.  I am currently working on Aegiridae, Acanthodoris, Knoutsodonta and the suborder Doridina.


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