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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Boreal toad disease resistance

Boreal toad (Anaxyrus boreas) Colorado mountains. Photo credit: W. Chris Funk

The Southern Rocky Mountain boreal toad (Anaxyrus boreas) population (SRMP), found almost exclusively in Colorado, began declining precipitously in the mid-1990s. The primary threat to the species is Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a skin parasite that causes high mortality in many amphibian species. This project will resolve long-standing uncertainties relating directly to recovery: (1) determining if there is a genetic basis for pathogen (Bd) resistance within the SRMP; and (2) understanding genetic structure within the SRMP. Addressing these uncertainties will inform critical management decisions going forward, including selection of donor populations for translocation efforts, delineation of management units, characterization of adaptive differentiation among local populations, and the size and composition of the captive broodstock maintained at the Mumma Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility. Funk Lab postdoc Daryl Trumbo will lead genomic analyses as part of this project, and Bennett Hardy (PhD student co-advised by Larissa Bailey and Chris) will lead the ecological component. Collaborators include Harry Crockett (CPW), Larissa Bailey (CSU), and Erin Muths (USGS Fort Collins Science Center).