Research in the Evolutionary Ecology lab at UH Hilo

We are broadly interested in the ecology, evolution, and conservation biology of both plants and animals, in Hawaii and globally.  In particular, we generally study questions related to how new ecological strategies evolve and are maintained over time.  We are highly collaborative and use a variety of techniques including phylogenetics and phylogenomics, experimental and comparative methods, and quantitative analyses of the fossil record.  A few of the projects that we are currently working on include:

1) Using phylogenomic approaches to resolve the evolutionary history of recent, rapid adaptive radiations in native Hawaiian plants.

2) Testing the utility of DNA barcodes to accurately differentiate species in the native Hawaiian flora.

3) Using ecological predictors of extinction risk in marine and terrestrial animals in the modern biodiversity crisis and comparing these relationships to what we find in the geologic record, including across mass extinction events.

4) Investigating the relationships between taxonomic diversity (the number of species or genera) and ecological diversity (modes of life) in living animals and in the fossil record and how these relationships have evolved over time.

Please also see “People” in this website to learn more about the lab members working on each of these projects or the link below to the Keaohou profile by Susan Enright to learn more about the research going on in the lab.