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.



Great Basin Columbia spotted frogs

Typical habitat of Great Basin Columbia spotted frogs (Rana luteiventris), shown in inset. Photo credit: W. Chris Funk

Columbia spotted frogs (Rana luteiventris) are highly aquatic frogs endemic to the Great Basin, northern Rocky Mountains, British Columbia, and southeast Alaska.  A previous genetic analysis using mitochondrial DNA revealed that the Great Basin clade (genetic group) includes populations in southeastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho, and Nevada. This study also uncovered two distinct “subclades” (smaller, nested clades) within the Great Basin clade: (1) a southeastern Oregon clade; and (2) a southwestern Idaho and Nevada clade.  Populations of Columbia spotted frogs in Nevada are of particular conservation concern because they are limited in distribution, isolated, and often small. The goal of this project is to use a genomic approach to delineate management units, quantify connectivity among populations, test for adaptive differentiation among populations, estimate effective population sizes, and test for population bottlenecks to guide management of these imperiled populations. Funk Lab postdoc Brenna Forester will lead genomic analyses. Collaborators include Chad Mellison (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and Jeff Petersen (Nevada Department of Wildlife).