The lab is interested in biogeographic studies at the species and population-level, using molecular data and ecological niche modeling to investigate distributional patterns within species and species complexes. Such studies can be combined with analyses of range reductions and genetic diversity among populations in order to provide information for informed conservation planning at the species level and to study the origins of crop plants to help direct genomic research of crop development.
- Chodon Sass' dissertation research investigated the role of biogeography in the diversification of Aechmea (Bromeliaceae) , research published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 2011.
- Eduardo Ruiz-Sanchez, former UC MEXUS postdoc, completed a study of the phylogeography of Nolina parviflora (Ruscaceae) populations and the role of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt on their population structure published in the Journal of Biogeography (2013).
- Shalika Gupta (ES2012) developed ecological niche models for Central American species of Heliconia as part of her Senior Thesis research and we continue to work on niche evolution in Heliconiaceae as part of NSF DEB funded research in collaboration with Dr. John Kress of the Smithsonian Institution.
- Thiago Andre, visiting graduate student from Brasil, is investigating phylogenetics and population structure in Chamaecostus, a genus of Costaceae. Thiago has developed Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies for capturing 30K base pairs in one fell swoop (!) from populations of Chamaecostus subsessilis.