(Presented in order of joining the group)

Joe Manthey

  • 2018-Present – Asst. Professor Texas Tech
  • 2016-2017 – Postdoc NYU Abu Dhabi
  • 2011-2015 – Ph.D. University of Kansas
  • 2009-2011 – M.S. Black Hills State University
  • 2004-2008 – B.S. Univ. of Wisconsin – Madison

Google ScholarGitHub

Jack Hruska

  • 2018-Present – PhD Student Texas Tech
  • 2018 – M.S. University of Kansas
  • 2014 – B.A. Cornell University

Google ScholarPersonal Website

Fundamentally, I study the processes that drive avian diversification and speciation. More specifically, I’m interested in cataloguing the evolutionary history of populations using a combination of molecular, phenotypic, and niche modeling data. For my PhD thesis, I will implement these approaches to better understand the evolutionary dynamics of avian taxa that are restricted to the pine-oak forests of North and Central America.

Garrett Behrends

  • 2021-Present – M.S. Student Texas Tech
  • 2016 – B.S. University of Nebraska – Omaha

My research interests are to examine the relationships between bird populations separated by space or time to contribute to: a further understanding of the tree of life, understanding mechanisms behind differentiation, and informing potential conservation efforts further downstream.

For my M.S., I am focusing on six Ethiopian Highland bird species. I am applying population genetic methods to determine if the Blue Nile Valley has been a substantial, long-term biogeographic barrier to gene flow, causing differentiation and the formation of distinct populations on either side of the barrier.

Amie Settlecowski

  • 2021-Present – Postdoc Field Museum (co-advised by Ben Marks at FMNH and Joe Manthey at TTU)
  • 2021 – Ph.D. Louisiana State University
  • 2015 – B.S. Tulane University

Google Scholar

I am broadly interested in understanding the processes that influence the maintenance or erosion of intraspecific variation and how those processes and intraspecific variation relate to interspecific diversification and overall species persistence. My research to date has focused on inferring phylogenetic relationships and intraspecific population structure in avian systems using molecular lab techniques and a combination of historical DNA from museum specimens and modern DNA from extant populations. I am currently working on characterizing the population genomic trajectories of Ethiopian montane forest passerines. I will describe how genomic diversity has changed in the past century and assess whether species-specific traits influence the maintenance of genomic diversity. To facilitate this research, I will also work to optimize extraction and whole-genome sequencing of historical DNA from 100-year old avian museum specimens.

Ari Rice

  • 2021-Present – Ph.D. Student Texas Tech
  • 2020 – M.S. Villanova University
  • 2016 – B.A. Lawrence University

Google Scholar

I am interested in using genomic tools to study past and present gene flow between populations of birds living in sky island ecosystems. I am also generally interested in avian hybrid zones, investigating the ecological and landscape-related factors that make hybridization possible between certain species.

Alexandra (Jita) Holderman

  • 2022-present – Undergrad. research assistant  Texas Tech
  • 2020-present – B.S. student Texas Tech

I am currently working with Ari Rice on developing and implementing a PCR-RFLP assay to study inversions in Brown Creepers.

Javier Colmenares

  • 2022-present – Ph.D. Student Texas Tech
  • 2019 – M.S. Universidad Industrial de Santander
  • 2015 – B.S. Universidad Industrial de Santander

My academic and research interests are focused on taxonomy, systematics, and evolution in some groups of small mammals, especially rodents. I’m broadly interested in answering questions about how present and past climatological and geological events influence diversification and population dynamics, and how it is reflected in mammalian genomes. At TTU, I am currently working on a project to understand the evolutionary origin, distinctiveness, and effective population size of a Texas endemic rodent (Peromyscus truei comanche).

Swapnil Boyane

  • 2023-present – Ph.D. Student Texas Tech
  • 2018 – M.S. University of Pune
  • 2016 – B.S. University of Pune

Google Scholar

Hello, my name is Swapnil Boyane, and I’m from Pune, India. I’ve always been fascinated by insects and their diversity; therefore, I started working on insect taxonomy while studying for my B.S. and M.S. After obtaining my M.S., I worked as a project associate for ATREE in Bangalore, India and started developing interest in molecular approaches. At TTU, I plan to study the genomics of ants, specifically the genus Camponotus. Additionally, I’ll also try to comprehend how Camponotus and their endosymbionts (Blochmannia) co-evolved.

Past Members

Graduate Students

  • Brandon Meadows (M.S.)
    • 2020-2022 – Landscape genomics of Camponotus modoc in the Rocky Mountains
    • now a Ph.D. student at University of Alabama

Undergraduate Students

  • Jesus Silva (undergrad research)
    • 2021-2022 – ant relatedness with genomics, bird song analysis
  • Mateen Emad (undergrad research)
    • 2021 – ant relatedness with genomics
  • Sarah Baty (undergrad research)
    • 2019-2020 – woodpecker genomics – now Ph.D. student at Arizona State University
  • Brandon Meadows (undergrad research)
    • 2019-2020 – ant microbiomes

Lab Policies and Expectations

Current Collaborations (alphabetical):

Mike Andersen, University of New Mexico: Island biogeography and genomics

Robert Bradley, Texas Tech University: mammal genomics

Luke Campillo, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa: Avian evolution, species delimitation

Jacob Cooper, University of Kansas: Albertine Rift bird biodiversity genomics

Jennifer Girón, Texas Tech University: weevil genomics

Ben Marks, Field Museum: Ethiopian bird biodiversity genomics

Rob Moyle, University of Kansas: Island biogeography and genomics

Caleb Phillips, Texas Tech University: mammal genomics

Mark Robbins, University of Kansas: Contopus hybridization

Garth Spellman, Denver Museum: Avian population genomics