Species boundaries of the changing forests
In the midst of climatic and biodiversity crises, we strive to understand the diversity of life while seeking conservation strategies. We study the organismal footprints of hybridization, adaptation, and reproductive isolation in various temporal and spatial scales, with the ultimate mission to understand and maintain biodiversity in the changing world.
Species boundaries are dynamic, underpinned by the tension between gene flow and genetic incompatibilities among diverging lineages. Species boundaries often change in response to climate changes. We mainly work on avian species complexes in the early stage of speciation in the old-growth forests of the Americas.
Wood Warblers that breed in North America
We study Setophaga warblers, which include 34 wood-warbler species radiated in ~6 million years, known for their refined niche-partitioning in the North American forests (MacArthur 1958). Our long-term fieldwork on one of the youngest Setophaga species pair, S. occidentalis (SOCC) and S. townsendi (STOW) in the evergreen forest of Western North America, uncovered mitonuclear and color genetic contributors of speciation in the face of gene flow.
Amazonian rainforest avian species boundaries
Over 10,000 animal and plant species are on the brink of extinction in the Amazon. Understanding species boundaries is crucial for effective conservation planning, yet the breeding biology of most Amazonian avian species has not been well-understood. We aim to establish integrative biological insights into avian species boundaries in the Amazonian rainforest. We work with multiple species complexes, including Amazon parrots, Pipile guans, and tinamous inhabiting different rainforest strata.