Photography Edgar Benavides
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520 (email:
Name Research Interests: I have just moved to Yale to take a second post-doc, and I focus on evolutionary genetics questions in the following taxa: (1) phylogeny, phylogeography, and generation of genetic diversity by environmental factors in the Galápagos Archipelago using lava lizards (Microlophus) as a models; (2) unraveling of patterns and historical processes involved in the distribution of genetic diversity along the coastal deserts of Peru and Chile in these same lizards; (3) assessing the genetic makeup of the critically endangered giant frog of Lake Titicaca (Telmatobius culeus); (4) using rapidly evolving markers (microsatellites) to identify inter-island giant tortoise hybrids in the Galapagos Archipelago; and (5) the study of amphibian and reptile biodiversity of South America in general, and Bolivia in particular.
Photography Jennifer Pramuk
Curator Woodland Park Zoo 601 North 59th Street Seattle, WA 98103 USA (email:
Name Research Interests: I am interested in many aspects of amphibian and reptile biology, including but not limited to biodiversity surveys, alpha taxonomy and species descriptions of Neotropical anurans (21 new species described to date), estimation of phylogenetic relationships of bufonid frogs from both molecular and morphological data sets, the use of multi-locus data sets to estimate divergence times of major groups of bufonids as these relate to the breakup of Gondwanan land masses and the origin of South American and Caribbean clades, and to estimate the timing of the origin of the enigmatic lizard genus Cricosaura in Cuba. I am also heavily engaged in amphibian decline issues, and as Curator of Herpetology at the Bronx Zoo, I supervise captive propagation of several highly endangered species. (personal website:
Photography Brice Noonan
Department of Biology, P.O. Box 1848, Univ. of Mississippi, University, MS 3867 (email:
Name Research Interests: My primary interest lies in the diversity and distributions of tropical organisms. In the past my research has focused on reptiles and amphibians of the Guiana Shield, South America, although I have now expanded to include Madagasar and arthropods (primarily ants). This work includes examination of both interspecific biogeography of Gondwanan groups and intraspecific patterns of geographic variation within these regions. In order to understand and interpret the observed patterns, I incorporate fossil, geological, and climatological data. The ability to employ multilocus nuclear DNA datasets with fossil calibrated divergence-time estimates, statistical methods for testing alternative hypotheses of population history, and ecological modeling make this a particularly exciting time to study evolution in the tropics. (website:
Photography Devon Pearse
Research geneticist, NOAA/NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dept. of Ecology/Evolutionary Biology, UC-Santa Cruz, 110 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (phone: 831/420-39906; email:
Name Research Interests: I am interested in understanding the conceptual aspects of population genetics as well as the application of genetic data to conservation and fisheries management. My recent work has focused on gene flow and evolutionary relationships of Pacific salmonids, Oncorhynchus, and rockfish of the genus Sebastes. For example, we have examined the population structure of O. mykiss in a variety of systems, ranging from large scale studies in the Klamath-Trinity River steelhead and Upper Klamath basin redband trout, to a fine scale dissection of the genetic relationships among resident and anadromous O. mykiss in Scott Creek. This small stream is the focus of a multi-disciplinary research project, and the genetic components have included comparisons of fish above and below waterfall barriers, large-scale parentage analysis, a genome scan for chromosomal regions under differential selection, and the development of targeted genetic markers for population assignment. (websites:;
Photography Elizabeth Sinclair
Science Directorate, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, 1 Fraser Avenue, West Perth, Western Australia, 6007, Australia, and School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia, 6009, Australia (email:
Name Research Interests: My research interests are in the application of molecular genetic approaches to address issues in conservation and management of threatened and endangered species, comparative phylogeography, and molecular systematics. I have worked with a wide variety of organisms and gained experience with many different genetic markers. My current work at Kings Park is focusing on understanding population genetic patterns in urban bushland remnants requiring restoration actions and recently in understanding the processes driving spatial genetic patterns in seagrasses (Posidonia). I am also involved in developing molecular identification tools for detecting rare marsupials in the field from scat DNA.
Photography Karl M. Kjer
Department of Entomology, Rutgers University 93 Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 (email:
Name Research Interests: I am interested in phylogenetics and an integration of molecular biology and organismal biology. I study the structure and function of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes to improve ways to use these sequences in phylogenetic studies. Alignment of rRNA is particularly problematic, and I have developed suggestions that incorporate structural information in alignment protocols. I am currently working on the phylogeny of Trichoptera, or caddisflies, an order of holometabolous insects with aquatic immature stages. Habitat specificity and general intolerance to pollution makes the larvae excellent biological indicators of water quality. The pattern I have developed in my collaborations has been to include taxonomic expertise with my own, and to include morphological characters with molecular whenever possible. I also consider field work and natural history questions essential to a meaningful systematics research program. I utilize Bayesian, and maximum likelihood tree reconstruction methods, and stress the importance of understanding the assumptions, strengths and weaknesses of a variety of analysis philosophies.
Photography Miriam Benabib
Department of Biology
Name Research Interests: Miriam Benabib's research interests
Photography Oscar Flores-Villela
Curator of Herpetology at Museo de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM). A.P. 70-399 Mexico D.F. 04510 (emails:;;
Name Research Interests: My research interests are many; I do systematics and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles of Mexico and Central America. I have been also working on conservation of amphibians and reptiles, and like to spend some time reading and writing about the history of biology in Mexico. Currently I am working with Jonathan A. Campbell from the University of Texas, Arlington and Darrel Frost from the American Museum of Natural History, on a book about the amphibians and reptiles of Mexico. I have recently secured funding to write a book on Alfredo Dugès, and I have several other collaborators working on the phylogeny of some groups of Mexican amphibians and reptiles and other conservation projects I am currently on leave from UNAM at the Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center at the University of Texas in Arlington. (website:
Photography Luciano J. Avila
Centro Nacional Patagónico, Boulevard Alte. Brown s/n, U9120 ACV, Puerto Madryn, Argentina (email:
Name Research Interests: I am interested in Herpetology from broad natural history perspectives, especially as these relate to to the native lizard fauna of Patagonia and the southern Andes. My students and I conduct biological surveys of poorly known regions, and collect extensively to secure adequate material to address issues ranging from alpha taxonomy and geographic distributions, to basic ecology and life history strategies, to phylogenetic relationships and more synthetic questions in biogeography and speciation patterns, and the extension of these issues to biodiversity conservation policy.
Photography Katia Cristina Machado Pellegrino
Departamento de Ciências Biológicas Universidade Federal de São Paulo – Campus Diadema São Paulo- Brazil email:
Name Research Interests: I am interested in the study of the Neotropical lizard herpetofauna from an evolutionary genetics perspective. My work was for many years focused mainly on cytogenetics and chromosome evolution, but more recently I have added molecular methods to my program, and I work mainly with lizards of the family Gymnophthalmidae (“micro-teiids”). These lizards present interesting biological features, including morphological adaptations (body elongation, limb reduction) to specialized habitats (sand dunes) and parthenogenesis. I use molecular markers to address questions on species limits, the origins of parthenogenesis, phylogeography, biogeography, and conservation of Neotropical herpetofauna, especially species from Amazonia and the Atlantic Forest.
Photography Pedro Victoriano
Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas. Universidad de Concepción, Chile (email:
Name Research Interests: I am an Associate Professor of Vertebrate Biology at Universidad de Concepción with interests in microevolution, ecology and comparative phylogeography. I approach microevolutionary and phylogeographic studies by using DNA in order to analyze the geographic patterns of evolutionary lineages of vertebrates from southern South America; I am also interested in integrative analyses of community ecology patterns of Chilean native vertebrates.
Photography David P. Mindell
Dean of Science Harry W. and Diana V. Hind Chair Curator of Ornithology California Academy of Sciences 55 Music Concourse Drive San Francisco, CA 94118 Email:
Name Research Interests: My research focuses on molecular phylogenetics, evolution and conservation genetics of birds using nuclear and mitochondrial DNAs. I also apply phylogenies to questions regarding the age and tempo of avian and other vertebrate diversifications, and the resolution of taxonomic uncertainties, particularly in the clade Falconiformes. My other major research focus concerns the evolution and phylogeny of viruses and their coevolution with birds and other vertebrates.
Photography Frank Fontanella
Department of Biological Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University, 521 Lancaster Avenue, Richmond, KY 40575
Name Research Interests: I am interested in the geographical, historical, and ecological factors influencing the divergence and maintenance of genetic lineages, especially reptiles. My research interests are centered on a two-tier system designed to gain insight into the fundamental evolutionary processes that underlie speciation events. At the first tier, I rely heavily on phylogeographic and coalescent-based methods utilizing molecular (mtDNA and nDNA) data necessary for addressing questions about adaptive radiation, evolutionary convergence and large-scale trends in biodiversity. These methods then are combined with historical biogeography, population demography and ecological models to ascertain the factors that influence the distributions of organisms. The second tier incorporates microsatellite loci to examine geographic population structure, gene flow and hybridization to address the fundamental evolutionary processes that drive speciation.
Photography Dan Mulcahy
Smithsonian Institution, Museum Support Center (LAB), 4210 Silver Hill Road, Suitland, MD 20746
Name Research Interests: My interests are in systematics and biogeography, focused on amphibians and reptiles in western North America. I have worked on and continue to study biogeography and systematics of Mesoamerican toads (with Dr. Joe Mendelson), and I also continue with comparative phylogeographic studies of several wide-spread squamate species in western North America. My dissertation work focused on biogeographic and taxonomic studies of nightsnakes (Hypsiglena), and I have shown that several species form a ring distribution around the Gulf of California. At BYU, we (including several undergraduates) are conducting a phylogeographic study of Uta stansburiana sampled from most of its range, and I plan to synthesize these individual studies into a comparative phylogeographic analysis of the deserts in western North America. My postdoctoral position at BYU is funded by the “Deep Scaly” Project (described below) and my role is to optimize PCR conditions, including primer design, and to collect sequence data for one-third of the target loci (~17) from ~150 squamate taxa. We are writing a paper focusing on basal relationships among squamates using 25 nuclear loci, and comparing performance of methods for estimating dates of divergence using fossil calibrations.