Research


Adaptation

asymmetry_completeOur research focuses on the process and outcomes of selection. We mainly study fishes, testing hypotheses about population persistence and the genetic basis of adaptation in response to environmental change. We study the genetic basis of adaptive behaviours, morphology, physiology and plasticity, examining 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.


Molecular Ecology and Conservation

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 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

MEC_04574_whitefishcover

Understanding the remarkable fits between organisms and their environment is also a central objective of our research. Dobzhansky (1951) believed that the genome of a species is an integrated and evolved system adapted to the ecological niche where species lives.  As populations  diverge and 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 this process (life history, behaviour, physiology). (Image: Rogers Hybrid F1 Lake Whitefish)