Phillips Lab of Biodiversity Genomics

 The Phillips lab is seeking to understand patterns and processes underlying speciation and diversification. In particular, we are trying to address several key questions:

-What are the causes and consequences of speciation and biodiversity?

-How does biodiversity manifest in isolated systems? (islands, mountains, caves)

-How connected are the cave and aquifer systems in Georgia and Florida? (e.g. if you are a salamander!)

-How does connectivity/lack thereof impact speciation in the southeastern US?

We are also excited to explore various evolutionary and ecological phenomena (especially in a genomic context) as members of the lab have worked on diverse animals including reptiles, amphibians, fishes, and mollusks!  If you are interested in any of our work, please reach out! 

Look below at some of our research projects.

Biogeography of the southeastern US

The Phillips Lab is interested in understanding the nexus between evolution and ecology. In particular, how do organisms evolve across a landscape? What factors dictate speciation or lack thereof? To do this in our own backyard, we will explore biogeographic patterns in the southeastern United States, utilizing field sites near Valdosta!

Biodiversity in South American snails

We use snails as a model to understand speciation and community evolution. In particular, the Phillips lab utilizes South American land snails in the superfamily Orthalicoidea as they display an amazing diversity in shape, size, and color. This work is being done in collaboration with the Uyeno Lab at VSU and the Parent Lab at the University of Idaho.

Conservation Genetics of Cave Fauna

In the Phillips Lab, we are keenly aware of the myraid threats that are facing many taxa during our global biodiversity crisis. In particular, species that are adapted to cave environments are highly susceptible to many threats and are in danger of being extirpated before we even know what is there. We use population genetics and phylogeography to understand these species and best address their conservation needs.

In particular, we are interested in exploring the biodiversity of the Upper Floridan Aquifer here in Georgia (and northern Florida). This underexplored region is home to several enigmatic subterranean organisms like the Georgia Blind Salamander and the Dougherty Plain Cave Crayfish

Anuran Acoustics

In collaboration with the Grabarcyzk lab at VSU, we have a strong Anuran Acoustics team. We are interested in understanding variation in acoustic communication in frogs and toads in correspondence with ecological and anthropogenic factors such as noise, light, water quality, and predators.