Work in the Allen lab is focused broadly on  understanding the evolutionary, ecological, and biogeographic patterns that shape our world. To do this, the research falls under three goals. First, to collect and analyze data to uncover these patterns. Second, integrate different data types (e.g. morphology, genetics) to understand the mechanisms behind the patterns, and third to develop the bioinformatic tools necessary to do these analyses. This work focuses on data collected in the field, mined from online resources and even working with the general public (e.g. community science) to collect data. More specifics can be found here.

Ecomorph Evolution

One of the avenues we are studying is the evolution of avian louse ecomorphs. Lice live on different parts of the birds body and differ in how they handle host defense. We know these ecomorphs have evolved repeatedly. We are studying the molecular, morphological ecological factors that have shaped the evolution of this group.

MicroCT scan of a louse with chewing muscles identified. These are thought to be important morphological features defining the different ecomorphs.

Avian Extinction in the Caribbean

Many animals have gone extinct over the last few thousand years as humans have traveled around the world. In research led by postdoctoral associate Jessica Oswald we are extracting and sequencing ancient DNA from extinct animals from the Caribbean to determine their phylogenetic placement and to understand the historical biodiversity of these islands.

2,500 year old extinct Caracara from the Bahamas

Our Most Cited Publication: Evolutionary relationships of “Candidatus Riesia

Our Most Recent Publication: Spatial Phylogenetics of Butterflies

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