Evolutionary biology, with focus on factors involved in lineage diversification, such as species formation, adaptive radiation, phylogeography, biogeography, functional and developmental morphology, community organization. Decline of amphibian populations, extinction and related topics in conservation biology.
In the News
Five California amphibian experts warn that a recently discovered fungus already devastating salamanders in Europe could imperil American salamanders, and urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to immediately halt salamander imports until there is a plan to detect and prevent the spread of the fungus.
Nature is replete with animals and plants that have similar shapes or behaviors but are unrelated. They evolved these characteristics, such as long bodies in salamanders, independently, often through alteration of an entirely different set of genes. This process, called homoplasy, can tell us a lot about how evolution works, UC Berkeley biologists argue.
The spiny frogs of Asia have hard, nubby spines on their chests and arms and Popeye-like forearms in order to securely grasp females during mating in swift-flowing streams. Kunming Institute of Zoology and UC Berkeley biologists have conducted a genetic analysis of 24 species of spiny frogs to track the rise of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau that led to their diversification.