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.



Trinidadian guppy gene flow

Trinidadian guppies on the cover of the issue of Animal Conservation with John Kronenberger’s guppy paper.

This project tests the effects of gene flow, the movement of genes from one population to another by immigrants, on local adaptation and population dynamics in Trinidadian guppies. On the one hand, gene flow may break down local adaptation and reduce fitness by introducing maladapted genes. On the other hand, gene flow may increase fitness by adding genetic variation to small, inbred populations. Moreover, gene flow may have important effects on population growth and dynamics. We are testing the effects of gene flow using experiments in wild populations and in controlled mesocosms (experimental tanks). First, we are determining how immigration of fish adapted to a different environment affects traits and fitness in wild populations. Next, we are testing how these changes in traits and fitness affect population dynamics. Lastly, we are experimentally testing how the effects of gene flow vary with the degree of adaptive and neutral differentiation between populations and the level of inbreeding. Collaborators include Lisa Angeloni (CSU), Sarah Fitzpatrick (Michigan State University), John Kronenberger (National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation), and Dale Broder (St. Ambrose University).