I'm interested in the processes that generate & maintain diversity.
What drives diversification and maintains species across diverse habitats?
How is genetic diversity structured at the local level?
What genomic architecture underlies divergence?
To answer these questions, I extract DNA from tissue samples collected in the field and historical museum specimens. Using next generation sequencing techniques, I generate genomic datasets and use a variety of computational tools for analysis. I am also invested in developing molecular & computational tools for use with degraded DNA from historical specimens.
Phylogenomics of the New World Quail (Odontophoridae)
There are 35 species in 10 genera in the New World Quail family (including one genus that is found in central Africa, so the name is something of a misnomer), but altogether there are 135 subspecies described in this family, mostly based on plumage variation. I'm interested in understanding whether the genetic relationships between taxa in this group reflect the phenotypic reality we see. To do this, I'm inferring a subspecies-level phylogeny for all New World Quail using genomic data. We sequenced ultraconserved elements (UCEs) from 127 taxa representing nearly all recognized subspecies, making our study the first with complete sampling at the species level.
Phylogenomics & Systematics of Owls (Strigidae)
I'm currently working on a project to infer a complete genus-level phylogeny of the Typical Owl family (Strigidae) using genomic data. We sequenced ultraconserved element (UCEs) from 46 species, representing all 26 extant genera plus one recently extinct species, making our study the first to include complete sampling at the genus level, including the first genomic data for 8 genera.