My research focuses on the development of statistical methods for inferring phylogenies, the use of these methods to answer questions of fundamental importance in evolution, and the development of software to perform such inference.
Evolutionary biologists are driven by a desire to understand the staggering diversity of life on Earth, its history of change through time and the processes that have driven such change. DNA sequences are the fundamental material upon which evolutionary change is wrought and each organism’s genome carries the legacies of its evolutionary history. By sequencing the genomes of different organisms, we can use the information they contain to reconstruct their historical relationships and test hypotheses about their evolutionary past. Organismal histories can be depicted as branching diagrams known as phylogenetic trees. Phylogenies are of fundamental importance to all of comparative biology, including fields as diverse as conservation, forensics, agriculture, and medicine.
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