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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W. Chris Funk

guppy_viewingAlthough it looks like Chris is fascinated with his feet, he’s actually observing guppies. My research is at the interface of evolution, ecology, genomics, and conservation. In the most general sense, I investigate the evolutionary and ecological mechanisms that generate and maintain biodiversity by combining population genomics, experimental manipulations, and field studies. More specifically, my current research focuses on three fundamental questions in evolutionary ecology related to gene flow, an evolutionary force that plays a central role in the origin and persistence of biodiversity. First, what factors restrict gene flow, thereby causing populations to diverge into distinct, reproductively isolated species? Second, what effect does gene flow have on local adaptation, fitness, and population dynamics? Third, how do real-world landscapes affect patterns and rates of gene flow?

In addition to my interest in basic questions in evolutionary ecology, an important part of my research program applies population genetic concepts and new genomic tools to address conservation questions. Population genetics and genomics are invaluable in conservation and management for the delineation of conservation units, determining patterns of genetic connectivity across landscapes, and assessing the status and viability of threatened species. A major focus of my research program is the application of population genetics and genomics to address critical questions for biodiversity conservation.