(Presented in order of joining the group)
- 2018-Present – PhD Student Texas Tech
- 2018 – M.S. University of Kansas
- 2014 – B.A. Cornell University
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.
- 2020-Present – M.S. Student Texas Tech
- 2020 – B.S. Texas Tech University
I am interested in the microbial community of Carpenter ants, specifically the factors governing the structure of the microbial community. I am also interested in using genomic techniques to study the evolution and ecology of the obligate symbiont found in Carpenter ants.
M.S. Topic: Landscape genomics of Camponotus modoc and its endosymbionts in the Rocky Mountains
- 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.
- 2021-Present – Undergraduate research assistant – Texas Tech
Jesus has worked on a lab ant relatedness genomics project and is now working with Jack to study geographic variation in warbler song.
- 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
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.
- 2021-Present – Ph.D. Student Texas Tech
- 2020 – M.S. Villanova University
- 2016 – B.A. Lawrence University
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 – Undergraduate 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.
- 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).
- Mateen Emad (undergrad research)
- 2021 – ant relatedness with genomics
- Sarah Baty (undergrad research)
- 2019-2020 – woodpecker genomics – now Ph.D. student at ASU
- Brandon Meadows (undergrad research)
- 2019-2020 – ant microbiomes – now M.S. student at TTU
Current Collaborations (alphabetical):
Stepfanie Aguillon, Cornell: Woodpecker genomics
Mike Andersen, University of New Mexico: Island biogeography and genomics
Stéphane Boissinot, New York University Abu Dhabi: Genomics, TEs
Luke Campillo, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa: Avian evolution, species delimitation
Jennifer Girón, Purdue University and Texas Tech University: weevil genomics
Ben Marks, Field Museum: Ethiopian bird biodiversity genomics
Yonas Meheretu, Mekelle University: Ethiopian bird biodiversity genomics
Rob Moyle, University of Kansas: Island biogeography and genomics
Garth Spellman, Denver Museum: Avian population genomics