Environmental Science & Policy | Johns Hopkins University
I use DNA to study the evolution and ecology of endangered vertebrate species and apply these finding to develop conservation strategies. My work has included evolutionary and population studies on parrots, owls, and most recently crocodiles in both North and South America.
My primary research interest is in understanding the roles and mechanisms behind speciation and how this information can be applied to conservation management. Since the early 1900s, speciation research has made ground-breaking insights into macroevolution. However, with the ability to sequence the genomes of non-model organisms has allowed for researchers to look at demographic history of populations and species as well as identify genes that diverge between groups. This allows for the reconstruction of the story of how species come to be and are maintained. In addition, the biological rules behind when hybrids can or cannot be created between different species is still not fully understood. My research aims to provide more insight into the phenomenon of speciation and hybridization, particularly in endangered vertebrates using genomic-scale data. The goal would be to identify ecological speciation factors and speciation genes by using novel genomic techniques.