Welcome to the Funk Lab

We strive to understand the evolutionary and ecological mechanisms that generate and maintain biological diversity using population genomics, experimental manipulations, and field studies. Our goal is to not only test basic evolutionary and ecological theory, but also directly inform policy and management decisions that will ultimately determine the fate of biodiversity.



Visitors to Funk Lab


The Funk lab welcomes new PhD student, Amanda Cicchino!

The Funk lab is also happy to welcome Amanda Cicchino, who will be working as a PhD student on our tailed frog (Ascaphus spp.) genomics and evolutionary ecology project. Amanda received her MSc at Queens University, where she conducted research on call variation in spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer). Welcome to Colorado, Amanda!

The Funk lab welcomes new postdoc, Brenna Forester!

The Funk lab is pleased to welcome Brenna Forester, who will be working as a postdoc on our tailed frog (Ascaphus spp.) genomics and evolutionary ecology project. Brenna received her PhD at Duke University, where her dissertation focused on testing and applying landscape genomic methods for identifying loci under selection. Welcome to the Fort, Brenna!

Congratulations to Brian Gill for accepting postdoc at Brown University!

Photo credit: Tyler Kartzinel

Recent lab alumnus, Brian Gill, has accepted a position as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Institute for Environment and Society at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Together with Principal Investigator Tyler Kartzinel, Brian will utilize cutting-edge molecular tools to investigate the ecology and evolutionary biology of animals living on African Savannas. Research will focus on food webs, community assembly and disassembly, the implications of these basic research areas for conservation, and will take place at Brown University and the Mpala Research Centre in Kenya.

Alisha Shah’s paper on thermal tolerance in stream insects featured by Functional Ecology!!

Functional Ecology recently accepted a paper by Alisha Shah and other EVOTRAC coauthors and featured it. As predicted by theory, Alisha and her coauthors found that tropical aquatic insects have narrower thermal breadths than their temperate counterparts. Their findings also suggest that lowland tropical insects may be the most vulnerable to climate change compared to other populations.

Citation: Shah A, Gill B, Encalada A, Flecker A, Funk WC, Guayasamin JM, Kondratieff B, Poff N, Thomas S, Zamudio KR, Ghalambor CK (2017) Climate variability predicts thermal limits of aquatic insects across elevation and latitude. Functional Ecology, in press.

Congratulations to John Kronenberger for successfully defending his Masters!!!

Congratulations to John Kronenberger for successfully defending his Masters!!! He did a fantastic job! Wishing him the best on the PCT and in his future endeavors!

Eva Bacmeister wins 1st place for talk at Front Range Student Ecology Symposium!

Congratulations to undergrad Eva Bacmeister for winning 1st place for her talk at the 2017 Front Range Student Ecology Symposium held at CSU! Eva’s talk was based on her independent study of how temperature variability shapes the evolution of swimming performance (an important thermal tolerance trait) in temperate and tropical aquatic insects. Her work has shown that tropical insects sustain their highest performance over a narrower range of temperatures and exhibit much greater mortality at extreme temperatures than their temperate counterparts. Way to go, Eva!!

Alisha Shah awarded an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant!!!

For her PhD work, Alisha has explored the effect of temperature in setting the range limits of temperate and tropical aquatic insects. So far, she has found that temperate insects that experience wide seasonal fluctuations in temperature typically have broader thermal breadths and can remain active over a wider range of temperatures. On the other hand, tropical insects generally have narrower thermal tolerances and perform poorly outside their range of preferred temperatures. These results are extremely exciting as a first step! However, species do not exist in isolation, but rather in communities. Alisha’s DDIG research will build on the data she has collected by investigating the influence of temperature on species interactions and the combined effect of temperature and competition/predation on determining species range limits. This work will hopefully serve to broaden and deepen our understanding of local and global patterns of biodiversity.

Congrats to DR. Gill for successfully defending his PhD!!!

The newly anointed DR. Gill with his co-advisers, Boris Kondratieff and Chris Funk, and committee members, LeRoy Poff and Will Clements.

Congratulations to Dr. Brian Gill for successfully defending his PhD!!!

Congratulations to Miranda Wade for being accepted to grad school!

Congratulations to Funk lab research assistant Miranda Wade for being accepted to graduate school! Miranda will start a MS program in conservation genomics with Dr. Mariah Meek at Michigan State University in Fall 2017.

John Kronenberger’s paper featured in Animal Conservation!

John Kronenberger’s paper on the effects of divergent immigrants on population fitness using guppies as a model system was featured in the recent issue of Animal Conservation, including this beautiful cover image. Three prominent conservation biologists also wrote companion papers discussing John’s results (L. Scott Mills, Catherine Grueber, and David Tallmon), and John wrote a summary response here.