Organismal Biology, Ecology, and Evolution - Focal Areas
Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution, and the sense (and sometimes senselessness) of evolution are illuminated by genetics. We use the tools of modern genomics to understand patterns of natural variation and the processes that generate them. Our research addresses questions about selfish evolution and population variation; sexual selection and adaptation; reproductive isolation and speciation; and genome evolution, co-evolution, and diversification, in taxa from across the tree of life.
We address fundamental questions about the ecology and behavior of plant and animal species, the dynamics of populations, the distribution of species, and the compostion of communities. Our location in the Northern Rockies provides unparalleled access to field sites in intact ecosystems, and also motivates research focused on understanding and mitigating the impacts of invasive species and other anthropogenic disturbances.
Living organisms are concrete entities, built of muscle or xylem or chitin, as well as products of evolution and players in ecology. Understanding how organisms develop and function in the environment is a key goal in its own right, and also informs both ecology and evolution. Our interests range from the physics of flight to the regulation of stress hormones to the physiology of adaptation to environmental extremes, and we integrate innovative measures of functional traits with genomic, behavioral, and ecological studies.