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


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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Double congrats to DRA. Mónica Páez-Vacas!

Dr. Professor Mónica Páez-Vacas

A huge congratulations to Dr. Mónica Páez-Vacas for successfully defending her PhD on adaptive divergence and landscape genetics of the poison frog Epipedobates anthonyi in July. One week later, she found out she got a job as a Professor at the Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica in her hometown of Quito, […]

Manuscript on comparative biogeography of mayflies (Ephemeroptera) accepted for publication in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences and photo of the Oyacachi River selected as journal cover

A view of the Oyacachi River. Napo Province, Ecuador. Photo by Andrea Encalada.

Proceedings of the Royal Society London B: Biological Sciences recently accepted a paper by Brian Gill and other EVOTRAC coauthors and will feature part of their Ecuadorian study area as their journal cover. In support of the ‘Mountain Passes are […]

Mónica Páez-Vacas awarded an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant!!!

Mónica in her native habitat, the Ecuadorian Andes.

Congratulations to Mónica Páez-Vacas for being awarded an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG) to add genomics to her dissertation research. Mónica’s research has uncovered phenotypic divergence in size, calls, color, and thermal tolerance in the poison frog Epipedobates anthonyi across replicate elevational gradients in […]

Alisha Shah presents her results on stream insect physiology at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting

Alisha demonstrating her extremely low CTmin.

Alisha and the physiology research crew have found that critical thermal maximum experiments (a method traditionally used to measure the highest temperature an organism can withstand, and widely employed in studies investigating organismal response to climate change) can grossly underestimate vulnerability. Using a variety of measures of […]

Alisha Shah won the College of Natural Sciences Top Scholars Award for ‘Best Poster in Ecology’ at the Graduate Student Showcase on November 11th 2015!

Alisha explaining her results to an onlooker

Alisha presented her finding that tropical mayflies in the Andes have narrow thermal optima, which closely match the range of temperatures they experience in their native streams. But their temperate counterparts in the Rocky Mountains have much broader thermal optima, which appear to match the wider […]

Mónica Páez awarded Lewis and Clark grant to support research on poison dart frog speciation!

Epipedobates anthonyi (Photo credit: Mónica Páez)

Congratulations to Mónica Páez for being awarded a Lewis & Clark Fund for Exploration and Research grant! The grant will support her experiments in southern Ecuador to test for reproductive isolation across elevational gradients in Anthony’s poison arrow frog (Epipedobates anthonyi). Mónica’s highly integrative dissertation project combines […]

Brian Gill Awarded NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant for the project “Temporal Sampling and DNA Metabarcoding to Test the Climate Variability Hypothesis”

Volcan Antisana, Napo Province, Ecuador (Photo credit: Brian Gill)

Brian Gill and his PhD co-advisors Chris Funk and Boris Kondratieff will use this grant to build on their work estimating elevation range sizes of mountain stream insect taxa in Colorado and Ecuador to test the Climate Variability Hypothesis. In both the Rockies and […]