Conservation Genetics and Management

The management of populations in the face of environmental change, both natural and man-made, is challenging. Our research examines diverse species, from yeast to wolves, each of which is facing different challenges. We use a range of tools, from sampling wild populations to experimental evolution in the lab, whole genome sequencing, computer simulations and theoretical modeling. We participate in multidisciplinary research efforts and outreach activities aimed at bridging the current gap between scientific knowledge on genetic diversity and the use of this knowledge in practical management.


Environmental changes and ecological genomics

Understanding the genetic basis of local adaptation is challenging. Our research works to integrate results from field data, genomic sequencing, RNA-Seq and lipidopmics to understand which genetic variation gives rise to phenotypes with fitness consequences in the wild.


Functional genomics

Trying to understand how specific genetic variants affect whole phenotypes is challenging. We study the underlying molecular biology for phenotypes of interest, working with methylation sequencing, RNA-Seq analyses of allele specific variation, as well as CRISPR-Cas9 manipulation of candidate genes to investigate the causality of specific mutations in adaptation.


Life history evolution

What are the decisions that animals make during their development that alters their allocation of resources into flight vs. fecundity vs. attractiveness? What are the genetic variants that help animals adaptation to their complex habitats? Using many different ‘omic tools, we are working to answer these question for a range of adaptive phenotypes in the butterfly P. napi: diapause, wing patterning, polyphenism and immunity. We address potential life history differences and the genetics of cryptic, sympatric brown trout populations that occur in tiny freshwater lakes in mountain areas.


Population Genetics and Dynamics

At the core of evolutionary analyses and conservation management is the need for understanding population dynamics, especially the rate of and effects of genetic drift. We have a long history of modeling population genetic dynamics, with implications for real world dynamics. Recently we have also extended our tool-set into that of using whole genome sequencing data to reconstruct changes in population size and admixture events over the past million years, in both fish and butterflies.


Speciation Genomics

Speciation is a fundamental process at the heart of the evolution of biodiversity. We are striving to find answers to some of the biggest unknowns in speciation research, using experimental evolution with the fast and flexible model system Saccharomyces yeast. The awesome power of yeast genetics, combined with the newest sequencing technology, allows us to establish links between all levels of divergence – genetic, phenotypic, and ecological.