MSc thesis

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, investigating the genetics of adaptation, life history variation, speciation, population history and phylogeography. 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


Feb. 2020: A new paper published in CJFAS combines population genomics and otolith microchemistry analyses to reveal kokanee–sockeye salmon hybridization leads to intermediate morphology and resident life history, with important implications for fisheries management.

Jan. 2020: A new paper published in Molecular Ecology Resources demonstrates the application of GT‐seq to minimally‐invasive DNA samples to support studies in molecular ecology and conservation. The paper was also the subject of a Molecular Ecology Spotlight blog post.

Dec. 2019: A new paper published in Evolutionary Applications demonstrates the use of population genomics to guide invasive species management on islands.

Sept. 2019: A new paper featured on the cover of Nature Climate Change demonstrates that ecoregion explains spatial variation in climate responses of the American pika. Also see here for a journal review of the paper.

Aug. 2019: A new review paper published in Genes synthesizes current knowledge on patterns, mechanisms and genetics of speciation in reptiles and amphibians. Also check out the new special issue on Conservation Genetics and Genomics.

Lab people (from left to right): Danielle Schmidt, Lucas Elliott, Megan Walwyn, Lucas Milian Castellanos, Jessice Castellanos Milian, Yoamel Milian Garcia, Brock Burgess, Sarah Lu Chang, Farida Samad-zada, Mike Russello (PI), Bryson Sjodin and Chris Setzke (not shown).