Rm: 4428 Bioscience Complex
Tel: (613) 533-6128
Faculty Web Site: http://www.queensu.ca/biology/people/faculty/lougheed.html
Lab Web Site: http://post.queensu.ca/~lough/
RESEARCH AREA / POTENTIAL PROJECTS
We are interested in understanding the origins of biodiversity from the level of local adaptation and limiting gene flow in single landscapes, through the genetics of entire species' ranges, to understanding the processes that produce new, reproductively isolated species. Our research focuses on landscape genetics, phylogeography and phylogenetics of select frogs, snakes, lizards, and birds. We also use a suite of molecular tools, radiotelemetry and habitat characterization to study species of conservation concern in Canada and provide direct inputs into conservation planning and habitat stewardship.
Project 1. Female responses to advertisement calls of different evolutionary lineages of the spring peeper.
Biological speciation in vertebrates involves divergence in the mate recognition system (e.g. male advertisement call and female receptivity to it). Despite much excellent empirical work on a range of taxa, many outstanding questions remain. For example: Does prezygotic isolation (i.e. mate recognition system) arise more slowly than postzygotic isolation? What happens to divergence in the mate recognition system when two divergent evolutionary lineages come into secondary contact after a period of geographic isolation? This project will contribute to a much larger project that seeks to understand the origins of frog species focusing on our work on the spring peeper, Pseudacris crucifer. Research for this student project will use a combination of playback studies and auditory brainstem response screening to quantify female receptivity to male calls from a grades series of male call stimuli spanning local populations to distinct evolutionary lineages.
Project 2. The demographic & genetic consequences of roads on snake population persistence.
Human activities can negatively and potentially irrevocably alter species distributions and persistence. Understanding the multifarious genetic and demographic consequences of anthropogenic events is a major focus of conservation. Building on our previous research, this student project will combine simulations, road mortality data and genetic profiles to help us understand the impacts of roads on population connectivity, population size and population persistence in snakes of conservation concern including the massasauga rattlesnake and eastern foxsnake.