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.

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Conservation genomics

DSC_0185_smSanta Cruz Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis santacruzae) Conservation genomics is an emerging field that uses genomic data from thousands or tens of thousands of loci to address important questions for biodiversity conservation. Compared to traditional conservation genetic approaches that typically used 10-20 loci, conservation genomics is much more powerful. In particular, it will allow much more precise estimates of demographic parameters (effective population size, changes in effective population size, and gene flow) and the exciting possibility of characterizing adaptive genetic variation across real-world landscapes, critical information for making sound policy and management decisions.

The Funk Lab increasingly uses genomic approaches to address conservation questions. Currently, our main conservation genomics research focuses on three species on the California Channel Islands: the Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis; listed as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act [ESA]); the Island Night Lizard (Xantusia riversiana); and the Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla). For all three species, we are using genomic data to characterize population structure at neutral and adaptive loci; estimate effective population sizes; and test for changes in population sizes associated with dramatic changes in habitat on the Channel Islands caused by invasive herbivores and plants and subsequent restoration of the islands by removing these non-native herbivores and plants.

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