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Prospective Graduate Students

Over the decade or so, it's become increasingly obvious that the aspect of my career that I find most rewarding and enjoyable is interacting with and training graduate students. As such, I'm always interested in prospective students.

Check out the projects page for examples of the types of research my students conduct. If you're certain of your chosen career path, it's probably best to enter the Ph.D. program directly. However, if you're unsure as to what aspect of evolutionary biology truly ignites your intellectual curiosity, a Master's Degree might be appropriate. I'm happy to accept both M.S. and Ph.D. candidates, although the latter receive higher priority for funding.

I can advise students in either the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Program, of which I am chair, or in our Bioinformatics and Computational Biology degree program, which is a function of the Initiative for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies .

Pullman, Washington, home to Washington State University, is only 8 miles away and we enjoy tremendous interactions with evolutionary biologists at WSU. We have joint journal clubs, an informal colloquim (PEES), we collaborate on research projects and team teach graduate courses. Between the two universities, there is a tremendous group of evolutionary biologists, rivalling any in the country, especially considering recent hires.

Life in Moscow is unique. It's a small university community (approximately 20,000 residents), with the attactive aspects typical of a college town. If you like small towns, this is a cool one. In addition, although we're right on the edge of a large agricultural area (mostly wheat, peas, and lentils), we are relatively close to spectacular recreational opportunities, such as camping (car- and wilderness), hiking, skiing (downhill & cross country), boating (both flat water and incredible white water), climbing, fishing, hunting, mountian biking, etc. (it's amazing that I got tenure).

 

Here are a few examples of potential research projects for prospective students:

Experimental phylogenetics, in collaboration with Holly Wichman and Eva Top. We are interested in constructing known viral and plasmid phylogenies to complement simulations studies of the performance of various phylogenetic estimation procedures. I have five years of funding for this project through the Center for Research on Evolutionary Processes.

Phylogeoraphy of white-headed woodpeckers (Picoides albolarvatus), in collaboration with Mike Webster (WSU) and Rita Dixon (IF&G). This is a cavity nester that requires mature stands of ponderosa pine. This is a habitat in decline and there are therefore important conservation issues (species-specific and ecosystem wide).

Dispersal genetics and phylogeography of northern Rockies endemics (e.g., Ascaphus truei & A. montanus, Plethodon idahoensis, Dicamptodon aterrimus, etc.), in collaboraton with Dr. Lisette Waits and the Center for Research on Invasive Species and Small Poplations (CRISSP). We're still interested in using genetic data to assess overland versus riparian dispersal and investigate other range-wide and landscape level features that structure genetic variation.

Phylogenetics and speciation of western American chipmunks, Tamias, in collaboration with Dr. John Demboski, Denver Museum of Nature and Sciences.

If you're interested in these or any other projects that use phylogenies to address questions in evolutionary biology, give me a call at (208) 885-9049 or send me an e-mail.