Principal Investigator

Scott with some freshly prepared bird specimens.Scott A. Taylor, Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, CU Boulder
email: scott.a.taylor [at] colorado.edu
phone: (303)735-5227
office: RAMY C287

I am an evolutionary biologist interested in the utility of natural hybrid zones and recent radiations for understanding the genetic bases of traits involved in reproductive isolation, population divergence, and speciation. I am also interested in using hybrid zones to investigate the impacts of anthropogenic change, including climate change, on species distributions, interactions, and evolution. I am innately curious about the natural world and spent my childhood days exploring the forests, streams, lakes and rivers of Ontario, Canada. My lifetime interest in the generation and maintenance of biodiversity, and passion for natural history, led me to pursue training in wildlife biology at the University of Guelph and in evolutionary genetics at Queen's University. Most recently, I spent four years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology using genomics to understand hybrid zone dynamics in a number of avian systems. To stay up to date on Taylor Lab happenings follow me on Twitter: @Dr_Scott_Taylor


Graduate Students

Kathryn enjoying Rocky Mountain National ParkKathryn Grabenstein, PhD Student
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, CU Boulder
email: kathryn.grabenstein [at] colorado.edu
office: RAMY C287

The seemingly stable web of biodiversity around us is, in actuality, in near-constant flux as species seamlessly merge and diverge. I am interested in understanding how individuals' natural histories mediate this semi-permeable nature of species boundaries. Combining genomics and field studies, I hope to understand the underlying genetic components of speciation, how they translate to phenotypic differences, and, ultimately, how the relative forces of natural and sexual selection act upon these differences to maintain species boundaries. Additionally, I seek to assess how anthropogenic changes, such as global climate change and urbanization, impact biodiversity by modifying interspecific interactions.

Angela in Goblin ValleyAngela Hansen, PhD Student
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, CU Boulder
email: angela.hansen [at] colorado.edu
office: RAMY C287

Hybridization is ubiquitous and occurs across a multitude of taxa in a variety of environments. However, reproductive isolation often remains consistent through time. I intend to understand the role of parasitism in the maintenance of reproductive isolation. I’m fascinated by the varying degrees to which hybrid hosts respond to parasitism, and the relationship this has with genetic architecture. Advances in sequencing technology  have made documenting hybridization in nature possible for any non-model species, which will allow me to study parasitism of hosts within their natural hybrid zones and allopatric populations. By combining field experiments with advanced molecular techniques I aim to better understand the role that parasitism plays in shaping and maintaining species boundaries.

Erik in the mountainsErik Funk, PhD Student
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, CU Boulder
email: erik.funk [at] colorado.edu
office: RAMY C287

Understanding species boundaries is a fundamental, but challenging, component of describing and understanding the generation and maintenance of biodiversity. This comes, in part, from fact that species complexes can exhibit varying levels of genetic and phenotypic divergence. I am interested in the delineation and characterization of species boundaries, and in the source of morphological variation in systems with low, or recent, genetic divergence. By using genomic techniques, I hope to better understand the degree of divergence between species and populations, as well as the geographic and evolutionary forces responsible for generating biodiversity.