Andreas Chavez


Dr. Andreas Chavez

Squirrels on coalescent branches.

Andreas Chavez studies the evolution of genetic and phenotypic diversification in natural mammal populations. Much of his current research tests hypotheses regarding the phylogeography, adaptation, and maintenance of hybrid zones in North American pine squirrels (Tamiasciurus). To explore these questions, he use various computational methods based in population genetic theory and phylogenetic inference to identify evolutionary forces that have shaped contemporary patterns of biological diversity. Pine squirrels are an important study organism for investigating the early stages of adaptation and speciation in nature because they are comprised of only recently divergent lineages, form narrow hybrid zones, exhibit divergence in several phenotypic traits of ecological interest (e.g., fur coloration, cranial morphology associated with bite force, vocalization), and are a model organism for behavioral and ecological research.