Dr. Lacey L. Knowles is the Robert B. Payne Collegiate Professor at University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1999. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona in 1999-2002.
Dr. Knowles’ research focuses on speciation and the processes that initiate or contribute to population divergence, and spans a wide range of temporal and spatial scales that have both ecological and evolutionary implications. She works on a diversity of empirical systems (including insects, mammals, fishes, plants and lizards) in the lab, with student and postdoc research focused on not only empirical applications, but also methodological development in some cases.
One major component of her research focuses on the effect of climate change on species diversity. For much of this work, her lab focuses on integrative approaches to generating hypotheses and testing them using genomic data and a range of analytical approaches. A particular focus in the lab is on developing refined hypotheses to test how species-specific traits influence the effects of climate change on patterns of genomic variation.
Another primary component of research in her lab focuses on phylogenomics and application of genomic data to study the history of diversification. This work ranges from the conceptual and methodological challenges with inferring phylogenetic relationships when the genealogical history of loci differs, to the characterization of the processes structuring genomic variation across species (e.g., the relative contributions of incomplete lineage sorting, lateral gene transfer, and gene duplication and loss). Part of the work also addresses methodological issues with inferring species boundaries, using both genomic and phenotypic data.
Other projects in the lab span a range of topics, including studies to address the role of sexual selection in diversification to studies on how specific traits might mediate dispersal patterns in studies of the biogeographic histories of taxa. As with the other research foci, this work combines both empirical investigations with methodological development and is carried out in a diversity of taxa (e.g., Fijian ants, Caribbean birds and crickets, and montane grasshoppers).