University of Michigan
Museum of Zoology
1109 Geddes Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Collections Manager & Assistant Research Scientist
Field of Study
- Evolutionary patterns and processes of mammalian diversity
- Ecological and evolutionary implications of hybridization in mammals
- General natural history of mammalian species
- Ph.D., Texas Tech University
- M.S., Fort Hays State University
- B.A., University of Northern Iowa
The main focus of my research centers on the patterns and processes of mammalian diversity. In particular, I have concentrated on the evolutionary and ecological implications of hybridization in mammals. My dissertation research focused on studying the hybrid zone between two species of ground squirrel (i.e., Ictidomys parvidens and I. tridecemlineatus). Through genetics (i.e., gene sequencing and AFLPs) and ecological niche modeling, I answered questions regarding the historical biogeography of these species, current levels of hybridization, and the role the environment has played in determining locations of contact and subsequent potential for hybridization. Papers resulting from my research are in various stages of publication. Currently, I am in the process of developing a follow-up project to explore transcriptomes in the two ground squirrels to find genes potentially involved with genetic isolation and speciation.
Similarly, my Master’s research focused on identifying and characterizing the contact zone between the northern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda) and the Elliot’s short-tailed shrew (B. hylophaga) in southwestern Iowa and northwestern Missouri. This study involved intensive fieldwork, field karyotyping, and AFLPs, which has led to the publication of three papers. A follow-up project to evaluate the correlation between karyotypic variation and population-level genetic differences within the genus Blarina is presently being planned.
My other research foci include systematics, taxonomy, and the general natural history of mammals. These research projects have stemmed from collaborative efforts with colleagues. Projects have included the molecular evolution of the Rpb3 gene in pocket gophers; invasive ecology of the gray squirrel; natural history of Mexican woodrats; dietary analysis between the bobcat and the ocelot; hantavirus prevalence in urban areas; and the distribution of the hispid cotton rat. Current projects include an evaluation of the historical biogeography of the pocket gophers (genus Geomys). In addition, we are in the planning stages of rewriting the Mammals of Iowa, which will be written for more of a general audience. Additional projects are in development and underway.