Human modification of the environment, including large-scale habitat conversion and soaring greenhouse gas emissions, pose major threats to global biological diversity. Maintaining species’ ability to persist in changing environments ultimately means preserving genetic variation underlying ecologically important traits. Work in our lab is at the interface of ecology and evolution, employing genetic and genomic approaches to reconstruct population-level patterns and infer process to study questions associated with local adaptation, life history evolution, taxonomic status, wildlife conservation and fisheries management. Projects feature organisms spanning a wide taxonomic breadth, including freshwater fish and wildlife species of varying conservation status, and are geared towards addressing issues of immediate local, regional and global concern.

Lab people


Jan. 2017: New paper published in Conservation Genetics reports genetic variation and fine-scale population structure in American pikas across a human-modified landscape.

Dec 2016: Congratulations to Matt Waterhouse and Brett Ford, recipients of the Graduate Dean’s Thesis Fellowship & UBCO Graduate Scholarship, respectively.

Nov. 2016: New paper featured on the cover of Evolutionary Applications assesses the success of a sockeye salmon reintroduction program and evaluates the genetic conseqeunces to native kokanee.

Oct. 2016: New paper published in Amphibia-Reptilia reports genetic evidence for multiple paternity in the critically endangered Cuban crocodile, with implications for ex situ conservation.

Sep. 2016: Welcome to new MSc students, Danielle Schmidt and Lucas Elliott. New paper on non-invasive genetic sampling of western rattlesnakes published in Conservation Genetics Resources.

Aug. 2016: New paper published in PeerJ introduces a new metric, I-HEDGE, for determining the optimum complementary sets of taxa for conservation using evolutionary isolation, with application to Galapagos tortoise.

Lab people (from left to right): Brett Ford, Danielle Schmidt, Lucas Elliott, Evelyn Jensen, Bryson Sjodin, Mike Russello (PI), Matthew Waterhouse.