My lab investigates evolutionary processes that underlie the rich diversity of tree species in tropical forests. My current work is focused on (i) the historical biogeography and community assembly of tropical forests, (ii) genetic structure and gene flow, and (iii) specimen-based tools for biotic inventory. The graduate students and postdocs in my lab are broadly interested in molecular ecology and evolutionary biology, and have worked in temperate zone and tropical systems on diverse topics including systematics, chemical ecology, trophic structure, and plant-herbivore interactions.
I am always interested in talking with prospective graduate students, and sponsor students with interesting project ideas. Prospective students are encouraged to start a dialog prior to applying.
Woody Plants: Natural History and Identification (EEB 355, PitE 337, NRE 455): Woody Plants is an intensive field- and lecture-based learning experience, in which undergraduate and graduate students learn to identify 160 woody plant species (trees, shrubs and vines) that are important in Michigan environments. Students learn about their taxonomy, distribution, habitat associations, and biogeographic history and even how to identify them in their leafless winter condition. The lab component consists of weekly field trips in the Ann Arbor area, which include riparian and floodplain habitats, glacial lakes, moraines, bogs, fens and mesic forests. The lectures cover elementary aspects of plant identification, taxonomy and ecology. The broader themes treated in lecture include biogeographic history and the assembly of Michigan plant communities, both before and after major glaciations, ecological specialization, and impacts of global warming and other anthropogenic environmental changes.
Woody Plants website
Molecular Ecology (EEB 412): Molecular ecology is an interdisciplinary field of research in which genetic information is used to understand the ecology and evolution of non-model organisms. This course explores key topics through lectures, discussion of primary literature and data analysis. We will discuss the utility and limitations of different kinds of genetic data and analytical approaches, as well as promising new directions of research. The topics include population structure and phylogeography, ecological forensics, kinship and behavior, environmental genomics, and community phylogeny. Students are encouraged to relate the course material to their own research or academic interests. The course is geared toward advanced undergraduates and graduate students who have some background in evolution, genetics and statistics.
Molecular Ecology Website
TROPIBIO Seminar series (EEB 800): The weekly TROPIBIO seminar involves presentation and discussion of student and faculty research in tropical biology. It draws attendance primarily from EEB and the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE).