Christopher Dick

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Christopher Dick

Associate Professor
Associate Curator and Associate Chair for Museum Collections, U-M Herbarium
Director, E.S. George Reserve

Office Location(s): 2011 / 2010 / 2009 Kraus Natural Science Building
Phone: 734.764.9408
Lab Phone: 734.936.4723
Fax: 734.763.0544
Dick Lab
U-M Herbarium
View Curriculum Vitae

  • Affiliation(s)
    • U-M Herbarium
  • Fields of Study
    • Tropical biodiversity, molecular ecology, plant evolution
  • About

    Edwin S. George Reserve website

    Research interests

    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).

  • Education
    • Postdoctoral fellowships at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
    • Ph.D., Harvard University, 1999
    • M.A. Harvard University
    • B.A. Hampshire College
  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Tropical biodiversity, molecular ecology, plant evolution
  • Graduate students
    • Jordan Bemmels, Katie Roland
  • Postdoctoral fellows
    • James Pease