(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 Scholar Profile



Jack Hruska

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

Google Scholar Profile

Personal 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.

Jesus Silva

  • 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.

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 Profile

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

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.

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).

Past Members

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

    Stéphane Boissinot, New York University Abu Dhabi: Genomics, TEs

    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

    Mark Robbins, University of Kansas: Contopus hybridization

    Garth Spellman, Denver Museum: Avian population genomics

    Meheretu Yonas, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences: Ethiopian bird biodiversity genomics