The rapidly emerging field of molecular systematics is central to Dr. Greenbaum's research program. His interests are on utilizing phylogenies to test biogeographic hypotheses within a statistical and evolutionary framework. Other related biological phenomena can be addressed with this systematic focus, including morphological and behavioral character evolution, species boundaries, and identification of ancient, unique lineages that are in need of conservation. Dr. Greenbaum's research interests are equally divided among examination of specimens in collections, laboratory investigations, and fieldwork. An amalgamation of these approaches bridge traditional morphological taxonomy with molecular data and utilize behavioral and ecological observations made in the field. Dr. Greenbaum's early field experience was in the New World; however, he will be concentrating most of his future efforts in Africa. Comparisons of the rates of new species descriptions between the New World and Africa reveal that during recent decades, more new taxa have been described from the New World than from Africa. Dr. Greenbaum will concentrate his fieldwork efforts in areas of Africa that (1) have little or no representative specimen and tissue collections; (2) have experienced severe deforestation such that it is imperative to collect tissues before species become extinct; and (3) occur at the intersection of key biogeographic areas so that tissue samples for hypothesis testing can be collected.
Plant form, function and distribution have changed over long historic scales leading to much of the diversity we see in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems today. Plant distributions over recent history are not static, changing as natural ecosystems have undergone primarily human mediated alterations through climate change, non-indigenous plant introduction and landscape disturbance. The lab uses genomics, genetics, bioinformatics and field based techniques to investigate how historic and more recent physical, climatic and biological processes play a role in plant evolution.
The research program in the Lavretsky Lab is interdisciplinary and transcending landscape, evolutionary, and conservation genomics to study speciation, evolution, adaptation, and the role of gene flow. Overall objectives of our research are to determine the distribution of genetic diversity across species’ ranges to understand (1) the extent to which adaptive and non-adaptive genetic diversity shapes population structure, including (2) what genes are responsible for geographic adaption versus alternative selective pressures (e.g., sexual selection), (3) how contemporary pressures influence a species’ adaptive landscape, and (4) how best to use this information to establish better management and conservation practices. To answer these questions, I employ next-generation techniques (e.g., ddRAD-seq, Capture Sequence, Full Genome), including ancient DNA methods to generate genome-wide markers for various taxa and to link genetic variation to species or population traits of interest. Moreover, we use phenotypic and ecological data to identify any genetic associations that will help decipher the uniqueness of the studied group.
The mission of the Mackay Laboratory of Myrmecology (MLM) is to advance the understanding of ants through research on the taxonomy, systematics and ecology. Our research is directed to mostly on Neotropical taxa, but our scope is world wide.
Our vision is to accomplish revisions of notoriously difficult genera through the tools of field collection, comparison of specimens with types, and by the determination of evolutionary relationships of species with cladistic analyses. Our objective is to facilitate the development of functional taxonomies with identification keys to species accompanied by illustrations.
The Mosquito Ecology and Surveillance Laboratory (MESL) is a lab made up of faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, who happen to have a fascination with the little blood-sucking and (potentially) disease-carrying insects, aka mosquitoes. We are interested in other insects and arthropods including (but not limited to): ticks, kissing bugs, sandflies, and black flies. Our specialty, however, are mosquitoes. Our goals and aims include surveillance, arbovirus testing, and collaboration. Some of our partners in collaboration are the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the City of El Paso Department of Public Health. Click on the navigation tabs to learn more about us and the work we do.