Species diversity and conservation

The loss of biodiversity continues to accelerate. There is now widespread evidence that species extinctions lead to less productive ecosystems, declines in ecosystem services, and therefore have direct and indirect impacts on human populations (e.g. disease transmission, pest problems, decline in life quality, etc). While habitat destruction remains the most important agent in species loss, global change (climate change, pollution, species introductions, etc.) is an increasingly prominent driving force in the global biodiversity crisis. Unfortunately, global change affects protected habitats as well as human modified habitats, even in seemingly remote and pristine environments. An important mission of this lab is to describe and understand the diversity of life, while simultaneously developing strategies to conserve it for future generations. We apply genetic methods to assess species diversity, population connectivity, and evolutionary potential, and use this information to understand ongoing population declines and predict future trends. 

 Current Projects: Conservation of alpine insects; Systematics, biogeography and conservation of Caribbean earthworms; Phylogenetics, systematics and conservation of Grylloblattidae