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


Dec. 2018: A new paper published in Nature Ecology & Evolution analyzed the genome of Lonesome George—the iconic last member of the Galapagos giant tortoise once endemic to Pinta Island—revealing potential evolutionary strategies linked to increased lifespan, expanding our understanding of the genomic determinants of ageing and providing important resources to inform restoration of giant tortoise populations.

Nov. 2018: A new paper in Evolutionary Applications combining historical DNA analysis and population genomics provides insights into the consequences of decline and rapid demographic recovery through head‐starting in a Galapagos giant tortoise. Also, a new paper published in PeerJ reports genetic evidence for a distinct lineage of American crocodile in the Greater Antilles.

Oct. 2018: An Oxford University Blog post highlights two recent population genomic and mitogenomic studies of Galapagos giant tortoises featured on the cover of Journal of Heredity.

Sep. 2018: Welcome to Farida Samad-zada and Brock Burgess, two new MSc students in the ECGL. Also, two chapters are now available online in the book Population Genomics: Wildlife, discussing ex situ conservation and the use of non-invasive, archival and environmenal samples in the genomics age.

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 (not shown).