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.



Funk lab and colleagues publish new paper on the exciting potential and remaining uncertainties of genetic rescue

Genetic rescue has been used as a management strategy to increase population sizes of mountain pygmy possums (Photo: Andrew Weeks)

Theory and data show that genetic rescue–a decrease in extinction probability due to gene flow–is an effective management tool for small, isolated populations. Despite this, genetic rescue is rarely used to boost […]

Paper accepted in Ecology Letters on the effects of extreme flood on stream insect persistence and evolution

N. LeRoy Poff and collaborators (including Patricia Salerno and W. Chris Funk from the Funk Lab) recently had a paper accepted in Ecology Letters on the effects of an extreme flood event on stream insect persistence and evolution. They found that persistence decreased with increasing disturbance and that species traits predicted resilience. For taxa […]

Future Earth and the Global Biodiversity Center land grant for sustainability science

  Congratulations to Josh Tewksbury, director of the Colorado Global Hub of Future Earth, and W. Chris Funk, director of the Global Biodiversity Center at Colorado State University’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability, for receiving a $2 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to fund sustainability science projects. See the […]

Front Range frogs make the cover of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology!

A paper by Chris, Melanie Murphy, Kim Hoke, Erin Muths, Staci Amburgey, Emily Moriarty Lemmon, and Alan Lemmon is featured on the cover of this month’s issue of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology! Mountains are global centers of biodiversity, but the evolutionary processes generating this incredible diversity are still poorly understood. Pioneering research by […]

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 […]

Chris awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award for the project “Massively parallel sequencing meets megadiversity: Harnessing genomics to uncover the mechanisms generating Colombia’s exceptional biodiversity”

Fig. 1. (A) Elevation layer (elevation ranges from 0–5452 m in Colombia). Inset shows study area. (B) Variation in annual mean temperature (which ranges from -4.6–29.2 °C in Colombia). (C) Variation in annual mean precipitation (which ranges from 0.26–11.31 m in Colombia). All GIS layers are from WorldClim.

Chris was awarded a […]

Courtney Hofman’s paper on rapid evolution of dwarf island foxes accepted!

Photo by Julie King

Courtney Hofman (Smithsonian Institution) and colleagues used whole mitochondrial genomes to investigate the evolutionary history of island foxes, which occupy 6 of the 8 California Channel Islands. Our results are consistent with initial fox colonization of the Channel Islands probably by rafting or human introduction ~9200-7100 years ago, […]

Chris selected as a 2015 Leopold Leadership Fellow

Chris was selected as a 2015 Leopold Leadership Fellow by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Twenty researchers were chosen from across the country to participate in the program, which has the goal of providing “outstanding academic researchers with the skills, approaches, and theoretical frameworks for translating their knowledge to action and for […]

Genetic rescue review featured on cover of Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Our new review on genetic rescue was featured on the cover of Trends in Ecology and Evolution. See earlier post for more info on the major conclusions of our review.

Citation: Whiteley AR, Fitzpatrick SW, Funk WC, Tallmon DA (2015) Genetic rescue to the rescue. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 30, 42-49. […]

New paper by Dr. Katie Langin and colleagues on adaptive divergence in a single population of Island Scrub-Jays

Island Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma insularis) (Photo credit: Katie Langin)

Adaptive divergence within populations is thought to be rare due to the constraining effects of gene flow. Surprisingly, Dr. Katie Langin and colleagues found repeated adaptive divergence in bill size and shape in Island Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma insularis) in three separate stands of pine surrounded […]