CURRENT LAB GROUP MEMBERS AND AFFILIATES
Associate Director for Academic Affairs, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Director, Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program
Fuller Professor of Ornithology, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Curator of Genetic Resources, Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates
My personal research program centers on three broad topics: the generation and use of phylogenetic information for comparative studies of ecological and behavioral trait evolution and diversification patterns; the use of genomic information for the study of individual dispersal, population-level gene flow, hybridization, and speciation; and the generation of genetic information relevant to conservation and management issues.
I am responsible for the smooth sailing of the Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program’s laboratory and the training of students and visitors using this facility. I am closely involved with most of our projects, from methodologically simple studies of avian sex ratios to our most ambitious ‘big data’ investigations of genome-wide patterns of divergence and gene flow.
I am interested in understanding the processes that generate and maintain biodiversity, both to answer basic questions in biology and to design effective conservation strategies. I approach this problematic using molecular tools to study the evolution of avian systems, generally in the early stages of speciation. I also use field ornithology methods and the comparative analysis of vocalizations and coloration. I have experience in a wide variety of genetic methods that allow the study of organisms with different degrees of divergence and sampled using different designs (e.g., individuals versus loci). These methods include phylogenetics, phylogeography, population genetics, landscape genetics, and genomics. A significant part of my work has focused on understanding species limits and patterns of introgression in an explosive radiation of South American finches in the genus Sporophila.
Banting Postdoctoral Fellow
I am currently a NSERC Banting Postdoctoral Fellow interested in evolutionary biology, genomics, and molecular ecology, primarily—but not exclusively—in avian systems. Before starting in the Lovette lab, I completed my PhD with Darren Irwin in the Zoology Department and Biodiversity Research Centre at the University of British Columbia (2009-2014). Prior to that I also completed my MSc with Dr. Irwin and my BScH at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. Much of my research relies on combining genomic data with other phenotypic, behavioural and biogeographic information to make inferences about evolutionary processes. I takes advantage of the replicated patterns in species radiations, particularly the continental radiation of New World warblers. My field research has focused on studying contact zones and hybrids zones in warblers and wrens in North America.
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow
Rose Postdoctoral Fellow
I study chromosomal inversion evolution and the history of speciation with gene flow in the Australian grassfinches (family Estrildidae). I am particularly focused on the hybrid zone between subspecies of the long-tailed finch (Poephila acuticauda). My research in the lab has me actively investigating sex-biased gene expression evolution and the ‘Fast Z-effect’ across this clade of finches.
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow
I use an integrative approach that combines genomic data, plumage and morphometric data from museum specimens, climate niche modeling approaches, and citizen science data for a better understanding of hybridization between species. For my postdoctoral research I will be using a series of specimens housed at Cornell to compare multiple hybrid zones that occur in the Great Plains of North America, hoping to understand the factors that influence patterns of speciation on a broad scale.
Graduate Student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2012-present
I study phylogenetics, systematics, population genetics, and trait evolution in passerines. For my dissertation, I am focusing on species limits, demographic and colonization history, and local adaptations in horned larks (Eremophila).
Graduate Student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2013-present
Graduate Student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2014-present
I am a PhD Candidate studying hybridization in northern flickers using genomic techniques to better understand the speciation process.
Graduate Student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2015-present
I’m a PhD candidate using phylogenetic comparative and genomic methods to study range expansion and its drivers in the European starling.
I’m a sophomore animal science major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and am interested in research and veterinary medicine. I am working on investigating subspecies delineation in populations of five species of song sparrow around the San Fransisco Bay.
I am a sophomore in CALS studying ecology and evolutionary biology, with a strong interest in ornithology. I am broadly interested in studying how anthropogenic and natural changes in birds’ environments influence their movements and their use of different habitats. I also work as a collections assistant in the Museum of Vertebrates, and am currently working with Shawn to age towhee specimens collected across the Great Plains hybrid zone. We plan to compare the relative ratios of second-year to adult birds among hybrids versus pure parentals to study how selection may be acting on hybrids across the zone.
LOVETTE LAB ALUMNI