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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Sarah Fitzpatrick’s paper on the landscape and conservation genetics of Arkansas darters–an imperiled Great Plains fish–accepted for publication by Conservation Genetics!

Ark_Darter_02adjArkansas darter (Photo credit: Kurt Fausch) Great Plains streams are increasingly fragmented by water diversion and climate change, threatening connectivity of fish populations in this ecosystem. In collaboration with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperation, we conducted a landscape genetics study for Arkansas darters (a candidate for listing under the US Endangered Species Act) throughout southeastern Colorado. We found that habitat variables affected population genetic patterns in spite  of overall low levels of within population diversity and little connectivity among populations. Available and wetted stream habitat were positively associated with genetic diversity within a site, while stream distance and intermittency predicted divergence among sites. We also found little contribution from hatchery supplementation efforts. We provided a set of management recommendations for this species that incorporate a conservation genetics perspective.

Citation: Fitzpatrick SW, Crockett H, and Funk WC (In press) Water availability strongly impacts genetic patterns of an imperiled Great Plains stream fish. Conservation Genetics.

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