Colleagues and I recently published a paper on the population size changes of tetrapods within eastern North America in response to the ices ages of the Pleistocene (see paper here). This work was also covered by a number of science news websites (for example: EurekAlert!, ScienceDaily, Science Newsline)!
Colleagues and I just published a comparative phylogeographic study that demonstrates that species diversification across a well documented phylogeographic barrier in the desert southwest of North America has occurred asynchronously through time. The motivation for this study was to make the figure below.
Hot off the press, a paper I co-authored entitled ‘Speciation with gene flow in whiptail lizards from a Neotropical xeric biome’ tests hypotheses about diversification within the Caatinga biome using statistical model testing in the Cnemidophorus ocellifer species complex. Get it here!
I just returned from a three week collecting trip in the deserts of Mexico. The trip was a huge success, here’s just a few of the species that were collected, clockwise from the upper left Pituophis deppei, Coluber flagellum, Crotalus atrox, Boa constrictor, Rhinocheilus lecontei, and Salvadora deserticola:
I was recently awarded an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant for my work in the desert southwest! That means Rad-seq data for population level sampling across 13 co-disributed snake species!! The below figure is from my proposal and although the trees are based on a single locus they illustrate the deep genetic divergences between populations in the Sonoran vs. the Chihuahuan deserts. A great system for studying the process of speciation!
A new paper by my advisor and me show that there is a modal snake body size at the community, biome, region, and phylogenetic grouping, however speciation rates are not highest at this modal size. This suggests that trait driven diversification does not account for a regional pool of body sizes from which local communities are formed, however we suggest that the persistence of a modal size could still produce regional body size frequency distributions that we observed. Read all about it!
Chen et al. show that Euprepiophis perlaceus, a rare species of rat snake from China, is a distinct species from its sister taxon Euprepiophis mandarinus. In the paper the authors used multiple complimentary coalescent delimitation methods, which were all in agreement on the distinctiveness of this species. Check it out!