Department of Ecology and Genetics

Guschanski lab: Primate Diversity and Evolution

We are interested in understanding evolutionary processes that lead to biological diversity within and among populations and species. Focusing on nonhuman primates, we study population dynamics, speciation, adaptation and character trait evolution by combining genetic and genomic tools with ecological, morphological and climatic data. Many primate taxa are threatened or endangered. Therefore, our research aims to contribute to their conservation by providing valuable arguments and data for conservation efforts.

Studying primate diversity can be greatly facilitated by the combination of contemporary and historical (museum) samples. The temporal perspective provides a direct past-to-present comparison and enables us to study e.g. changes in genetic diversity, population size, species range, and provide insights into factors responsible for these changes.

The research program in our lab focuses on three main questions:

  1. What is the effect of ecological, climatic, and anthropogenic factors on animal population dynamics?
  2. What is the role of hybridization/introgression in shaping species diversity and driving speciation?
  3. To which extend do genomic innovations contribute to morphological and behavioral diversity