My research focuses on combining the priceless reservoir of information in natural history museums with cutting-edge techniques in order to answer both old and new questions in evolutionary biology. I study birds in the Neotropics (Central and South America), home to more bird species than any other region on Earth. My research focuses on understanding where this avian diversity came from by studying populations in the very early stages of speciation. I am currently a PhD student at the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science in the lab of Dr. Robb Brumfield. Please feel free to contact me about my research!
6 December 2013
I'm just back from a month-long expedition to Bolivia, a collaboration between LSUMNS and the Museo de Historia Natural Noel Kempff Mercado. Miguel Angel Aponte, Glenn Seeholzer, Brian Smith, and I made the first collections from the Cotacajes valley, and also obtained samples for some ongoing projects and from several undescribed or taxonomically ambiguous forms.
29 August 2013
26 August 2013
A preprint of our paper on using ultraconserved elements to do studies at shallow evolutionary timescales (phylogeography and population genetics) is up on arXiv! They're not just for deep stuff anymore!
16 May 2013
I will be attending the Evolution meeting in Snowbird, Utah and the American Ornithologists' Union and Cooper Ornithological Society meeting in Chicago. At Evolution, I will be presenting an exploration of two massively parallel sequencing methods, genotyping by sequencing and sequence capture of UCEs, for phylogeography in a non-model bird, as part of the SSB symposium on "Current Advances and Challenges in Practical Phylogenomics". At AOU/COS, I will be presenting an evaluation of the utility of UCEs relative to traditional sequence markers for avian systematics. See you there!
13 May 2013
I started a github page for depositing scripts used in papers or scripts that just might be of use to other folks. There's not much on there now, but I should start adding things gradually.
23 March 2013
Brian Smith and I just finished teaching a workshop on laboratory and bioinformatics techniques for sequencing ultraconserved elements. The workshop was very productive and a lot of fun. Thanks to the participants and everyone else involved!
20 March 2013
25 January 2013
Our UCE bird phylogeny has been published by PLoS One and the publication version is available online.
8 December 2012
Glenn Seeholzer, Paul van Els, Ryan Terrill and I just competed in the first Birding Rally Challenge in Peru, an intense 6-day birding competition beginning in the Amazonian lowlands and continuing up and over the eastern Andes to the Sacred Valley in Cusco. It was an amazing experience, and we were fortunate to place first with 493 species, barely beating out the UK-based team the Forest Falcons (490 species).
20 October 2012
A preprint version of our paper "A phylogeny of birds based on over 1,500 loci collected by target enrichment and high-throughput sequencing" is available from arXiv.
11 August 2012
I am just back from a combined Universidade de São Paulo and Louisiana State University museum expedition to the Rio Sucunduri in the Brazilian Amazon. The trip was wildly successful, with highlights including the first specimens of a potential new taxon, the second and third specimens ever (and first male specimen) of the spectacular Clytoctantes atrogularis (Rondonia Bushbird), and excellent sampling from across a suture zone including a large number of apparent hybrids.
8 July 2012
We now have a website describing the use of genomic ultraconserved elements for comparative genetic research, and providing open access to probes, protocols, and manuscripts. Check it out! http://ultraconserved.org/
22 June 2012
Our project "Using Ancient DNA to Reconstruct Avian Extinctions" was successfully funded on petridish.org! Thanks to everyone for your support. Lab work will begin in the fall.
19 June 2012
Final publication proofs of our Auk paper describing a new species of barbet from the Cerros del Sira in central Peru (Seeholzer et al. 2012) are available! See pdf.
19 June 2012
I will be presenting this summer at the First Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology in Ottawa (5-11 July) and the Fifth North American Ornithological Conference in Vancouver (14-18 August). See you there!
19 June 2012
You can now support my research by buying evolution and ornithology themed clothing and designs at spreadshirt!
11 June 2012
We just heard that we have received funding from the National Geographic Society to conduct an expedition this July-August to the Rio Sucunduri in the Brazilian Amazon!
18 April 2012
Final publication proofs of our recently published Systematic Biology paper on Ultraconserved genomic elements as phylogenetic markers (Faircloth et al. 2012) are available! See pdf.
17 April 2012
Brian Smith and I are starting a project on the population genetics of extinct birds. See our project profile on the "crowdfunding" site petridish.org. Spread the word and please donate (any amount helps)!