Drivers of Diversification

One of my main interests revolves around finding and describing geographic and environmental patterns and drivers of evolution. I’m interested in what drives genomic diversity and diversification in tropical reptiles and amphibians. Mainly I have focused on widespread species which occur across heterogeneous landscapes and environments in the South American Tropics.

To do this, I have sequenced DNA from related skink lizards and used population and landscape genomics to test for levels of gene flow and genetic divergence across geographic and environmental gradients.

Adaptation across Landscapes

Contrasting local environments and complex genomic phenomena are known to influence selection within species through local adaptation. I aim to uncover how different landscapes and demographic change within species influence intra-specific adaptive responses within the genomes of co-distributed taxa across contrasting environments and within genetically complex species.

I have also utilized multiple populations from Rhinella marina and Rhinella granulosa toads, which are thought to hybridize, as well as skinks (Mabuya) and geckos (Gymnodactylus) distributed from southern Central America, through the Amazon, and across the Brazilian Cerrado and Caatinga into the Atlantic Rain Forest to test how complex demographic processes may have shaped the current diversity we see in these groups today.

South America

South America is home to a wide array of lanscapes and biodiversity. From the complex Andes mountains and the tropical Amazon and Atlantic forests, to the drier open savannas (Cerrado) and xeric habitats (Caatinga), the highly-contrasting landscapes in this region both promote and harbor extensive amounts of biodiversity. These regions are also home to some amazing scientists (and really great friends!) that are amazing resources of international collaboration and expertise. All of this renders South America, and the Tropics as a whole, an ideal place for studying the patterns and mechanisms which drive biodiversity!