David Woodruff Lab

Conservation Genetics and Evolution

I am interested in phylogeography and conservation genetics: the role of population genetics and ecology in determining the past and future evolution of animal species. Until the 1990's I focused on such topics as the genodynamics of hybrid zones (using Australian frogs, Pseudophryne), the role of gene flow and parapatric divergence in speciation (using Bahamian land snails, Cerion), and the co-evolution of host-parasite compatibility (using human schistosomes and their freshwater snail intermediate hosts).

Although these retrospective studies of species evolution continue in my laboratory, most attention is now devoted to helping biologists meet their greatest challenge: that of ensuring the future evolution of animal species.

To this end we have contributed to the development of molecular genetic methods of noninvasive genotyping, of defining evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) for conservation management purposes, and of detecting and monitoring genetic erosion in isolated populations.