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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Puma disease ecology

Camera trap photo of mountain lion in the Colorado Front Range. Photo credit: Jesse Lewis

This project tests the effects of landscape structure and management interventions on mountain lion (puma) disease dynamics. The research traces the spread of two apathogenic, contact-dependent retroviral agents in geographically distinct puma populations under three different management regimes: (1) supplementation and recovery of the highly endangered Florida panther; (2) large-scale manipulative harvest experiments of a rural Colorado puma population; and (3) steady-state management of puma populations in the Colorado Front Range and Southern California. In addition, the research will inform the disease dynamics of pathogenic diseases from models developed using apathogenic diseases. Funk Lab postdoc Daryl Trumbo is leading the landscape genomic analyses for Colorado pumas and Florida panthers. Collaborators on this project include Sue VandeWoude (CSU), Kevin Crooks (CSU), Meggan Craft (University of Minnesota), Scott Carver (University of Tasmania), and Holly Ernest (University of Wyoming). Visit the Felidae website for the latest news and results.