I am an evolutionary ecologist applying population genomics tools and techniques to understand how populations are changing through both space and time, with emphasis on how we as humans are driving such processes around the globe. I am particularly interested in questions of adaptation and selection.
Evolutionary consequences of anthropogenic change in marine tropics
Tropical marine environments experience some of the most intense human impacts and biodiversity risks worldwide. However, the extent to which such heavy anthropogenic activity can translate into substantial, long-lasting genomic consequences in the wild, and the conditions under which such change is likely to take place, remain important questions. This is particularly true of marine systems, where traditionally larger effective population sizes, weaker genetic drift, and high gene flow may make genetic erosion difficult to detect
To help address these gaps in knowledge, I am involved in a large multi-national, NSF-funded collaboration that is leveraging an extensive museum collection and temporal genomics techniques to assess long-term genomic change in tropical fish species over the past century of intense fisheries exploitation in the Philippines. I am particularly interested in quantifying the rate and trajectory of genomic diversity loss, as well as identifying potential signatures of fisheries-induced or environmental selection.
Macroecological drivers of genetic diversity
I, along with many others, am interested in leveraging previously collected genetic data to better understand how historical, demographic, and ecological processes shape contemporary distributions of genetic diversity. I am particularly focused on constructing these distributions in marine systems, as most previous macrogenetic work has focused on terrestrial taxa. Additionally, I am interested in how these patterns may vary depending on life history traits, degree of connectivity, and genetic markers.
As intraspecific genetic diversity is the necessary precursor to speciation, such questions have broad ecological significance and can help provide a more comprehensive view of how forces interacting across the genome scale up to provide the starting material for both species and community diversity.
Urbanization in house mice
While most of my previous work has occurred in the marine realm, I am also interested in expanding these lines of questions into other systems. At Drexel, I am currently working in the Phifer-Rixey Lab to understand the evolutionary consequences of urbanization in house mice (mus musculus). In particular, I am interested in both (1) identifying genomic signatures of rapid adaptation to urban environments and (2) assessing the repeatability of any adaptive patterns, by comparing the genomes and transcriptomes mice captured across an urban-rural gradient in three U.S. cities.