Adaptation: the manifest fit between organisms and their environment

asymmetry_completeOur research on adaptation focuses on the process and outcomes of natural and articial selection. We mainly study fishes, testing hypotheses about population persistence and the genetics of adaptation in response to environmental change in behaviour, morphology, physiology and plasticity.  We use an integrated approach to examine the imprint of selection on genomes during population divergence and speciation. 

Figure: A. Stickleback plate morphotypes, showing a typical low-plated fish (top), partially-plated fish (middle), and fully-plated fish (bottom). Morris et al. Evolution 2019.

Conservation genomics: Helping conservation efforts with genetic tools  

Conservation genomics is the application of genomic analysis to the preservation of populations and biodiversity. Genomic methods can be used to help assess genetic diversity, species identity, and detect instances where species hybridize to inform management decisions, including species reintroductions.   One of our main research interests is understanding the relative influences of historic and ecological processes that have help shape the distributions and life histories of species. Both the role of past infuences (e.g., ice age) and current environmental pressures have important conservation implications with respect to the effective management of this biodiversity.

(Image: Distribution of five glacial races of lake whitefish in Canada in relation to historic ice age refugia, Mee et al. Evolutionary Applications 2015)

Speciation: On the origin of species 


As populations  adapt to different environments, theory predicts that the hybrid offspring from divergent populations will be less successful, ultimately leading to new species (and increased biodiversity). We are interested in testing predictions about the roles of different traits in (life history, behaviour, physiology, morphology) in the process of speciation. 

(Image: Rogers Hybrid F1 Lake Whitefish)