Professor of Biology
MAJOR AREA: Amphibian Biology, Phylogenetics/Phylogenomics.
OFFICE: 230 Life Science
LAB: 216 Life Science
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin (1995)
My main area of research is systematics, the study of evolutionary relationships and biological diversity. I use methods such as DNA sequencing to reconstruct the phylogenies (historical relationships) of organisms. A phylogenetic tree provides the framework for investigation of diverse evolutionary phenomena. My major projects at present involve studies of evolution, species boundaries, morphological convergence, and biogeography of surface and cave-dwelling hemidactyliine plethodontid salamanders (in collaboration with J.J. Wiens, D.M. Hillis and others); experimental evolution of equine infectious anemia virus, a retrovirus closely related to HIV (in collaboration with S.L. Payne and P.C. Phillips); phylogeny, biogeography, and behavioral evolution of coenagrionid damselflies from throughout the world (in collaboration with J.V. Robinson); and systematics of Indonesian pythons (in collaboration with L.K. Ammerman, M.B. Harvey, and D. and T. Barker). My graduate students work on a variety of projects involving plethodontid salamanders, damselflies, snakes, Middle American amphibians and reptiles, and bats. Other interests include applications of molecular genetic data in conservation biology, population genetics, and theoretical and practical issues in phylogeny reconstruction.