Research in my laboratory focuses on why particular populations could invade novel habitats, whereas others cannot.  My lab currently explores genomic mechanisms underlying physiological adaption associated with habitat invasions.  My lab is investigating physiological and genetic targets of selection during repeated and independent freshwater invasions.  My students have developed multiple inbred lines from saline ancestral and freshwater invading populations for the purposes of QTL-mapping, genome sequencing, and the determination of cis- vs trans-regulation of candidate genes.  Examining the repeatability of mechanisms underlying freshwater adaptation could reveal whether these evolutionary pathways are labile or constrained.

We are using the copepod Eurytemora affinis as a model system for studying evolutionary mechanisms of invasions. This species (complex) is widespread globally, incredibly abundant in coastal estuaries, and a fundamental component of food webs (as a major food source for larval fish). This copepod is also a carrier of many microbes, including several pathogenic species. From a genetic perspective, E. affinis presents a good model for its small genome size, short generation time (10-20 d), and ability to produce inbred lines.

Long-term research interests focus on evolutionary dynamics at the interface between habitat boundaries, and factors that allow shifts in habitat type.  Results from my work not only have implications for understanding mechanisms of biological invasions, but also for global climate change and macroevolutionary processes, such as the colonization of land. 

I welcome graduate students with a strong background or interest in evolutionary biology or physiological ecology, preferably with experience in laboratory molecular genetics or strong quantitative skills.  I typically accept graduate students through the UW Graduate Program in Genetics or the Department of Zoology.


Contact Information

Center of Rapid Evolution (CORE)
430 Lincoln Drive, Birge Hall
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Madison, Wisconsin 53706 USA

CopadelicEurytemora affinis



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