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. The following provides two examples of projects.
Project 1. Secondary contact between ancient lineages of tree frogs. Secondary contact zones between diverging evolutionary lineages provide a natural ‘experiment’ for evaluating the evolution of reproductive isolation and the role of physical separation of lineages. Using samples that we have collected from the southern USA (Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas), this project will involve examine a potential contact zone between lineages that have been separated for up to 11 million years. We will incorporate call data, morphological data, and DNA micro satellites. Included in this study is the possibility of comparing to data from much younger lineages within the same species.
Project 2. eDNA detection of the threatened Blanding’s turtle. Human activities can negatively and potentially irrevocably alter species distributions and persistence. Understanding distributions of difficult to detect species like aquatic turtles helps us to quantify habitat preferences & usage, populations declines, and potentially causes of range shifts. New environmental DNA techniques are beginning to provide a way forward with evaluating such cryptic species. Habitat usage of the threatened Blanding’s turtle is poorly understood. Using water samples from wetlands and lakes across the Queen’s University Biological Station, the project will involved using species-specific primers to detect the presence or absence of eDNA signatures of Blanding’s turtles. Subsequent to this will be analysis with GIS and other data to refine our understanding of preferred habitat for this species, at the northern extent of its range.