About us

We are a diverse group of scientists that aim to highlight some of the exciting papers published in both Molecular Ecology and Molecular Ecology Resources and promote this work to a broader audience.

Daniel Ortiz-Barrientos
University of Queensland, Australia

Daniel is an Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Queensland. Daniel’s lab is currently focused on understanding the genetics of parallel evolution in an Australian wildflower, the evolution of recombination rates during divergence, and how gametic interactions evolve. They use a variety of genetic, physiological and ecological tools to investigate the origin of new species and adaptations, primarily in plants.

Nick Fountain-Jones
University of Tasmania, Australia

Nick Fountain-Jones is an early career disease ecologist with broad interests in how organisms including pathogens disperse or transmit and interact with one another and their environment and ultimately how this could shape evolution. He utilizes observational and mechanistic approaches, incorporating phylogeographic, community phylogenetic, network and functional data and techniques. In particular, he is interested in how molecular data can be analysed using phylogeographic, network and community-level analyses leveraging advances in machine learning and Bayesian statistics. He received his PhD from the University of Tasmania in 2015.

Luke Browne
University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Luke’s research focuses on the ecology, evolution, and conservation of plants. He is interested in understanding how types of global change, like habitat loss and climate change, will impact the genetic diversity of plant species and consequently influence their ability to survive and adapt to these changes. He uses a combination of field-based observational and experimental studies to investigate the processes that influence genetic diversity and how genetic diversity in turn impacts plant growth and survival. He received his PhD from Tulane University in New Orleans in 2017, focusing on the impact of genetic diversity on the growth and survival of the palm species Oenocarpus bataua and how pollen and seed dispersal interact to influence genetic diversity in this species. As a postdoc at UCLA, he is working with the California endemic oak Valley oak (Quercus lobata) to determine how future changes in climate may impact the viability and growth of Valley oak populations, and how we can improve the conservation of this species by incorporating genomic information into habitat restoration and management plans.

Megan Smith

Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
Megan’s research focuses on understanding the processes that lead to speciation. She uses genomic, ecological, and morphological data to understand how neutral and adaptive processes contribute to diversification. Currently, Megan is a PhD candidate at Ohio State University in Bryan Carstens’ lab. Her dissertation work has focused on terrestrial gastropods endemic to the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest of North America.

Samridhi Chaturvedi

Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA

My research focuses on the genomic basis of adaptation and speciation. I
am interested in understanding how populations adapt to contemporary
habitat changes and how patterns of genomic introgression and hybridization can inform our understanding of speciation and biodiversity.

Under this broad research approach, I am interested in quantifying
evolutionary predictability in the context of phenotypes, genotypes, space
and time and I use a combination of field-based, experimental and
molecular approaches to generate genome level data to answer my
research questions. I received my PhD from Utah State University in Logan
in 2019, focusing on the quantification of predictable genomic changes
underlying the evolution of Lycaeides butterflies. As a postdoc at the Arnold
Arboretum at Harvard University, I am working with Phlox flowers and aim
to dissect the gene regulatory basis of incomptability in pollen-pistil
interactions and understand the genomic patterns of hybridization and
introgression in Phlox species.

Rebecca (Beki) Hooper
University of Exeter, Penryn, UK

Beki’s primary research interests centre on understanding social evolution by working at the interface of behavioural, evolutionary and molecular ecology. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall campus, and is investigating the causes and consequences of avian social bonds, specifically in jackdaws – a member of the Corvid family. To do this she is using both behavioural and genomic approaches. Beki has previously worked on social behaviour in primates, spatial ecology in barnacles, and the microbiome of killer whales.