Ronald A. Van Den Bussche, Associate Dean for Research, Regents Professor & Curator of Frozen Tissues.
Phylogenetics, Phylogeography, Conservation Genetics, Genomics.
Ph.D., 1989 Texas Tech University
The fact that organisms can and do evolve requires the utilization of an evolutionary perspective when seeking to understand processes responsible for modern patterns of diversity. My laboratory utilizes molecular techniques to better our understanding of the processes responsible for the current biogeographic, morphologic, and ecologic variation observed in nature.
Many of the studies in my laboratory address phylogenetic, phylogeographic, or population genetic questions in mammals. Because phylogenetic studies are essential for understanding evolutionary processes occurring at both the organismal and molecular level, the importance of reliable phylogenetic hypotheses as foundations for interpreting diverse biological observations has become increasingly apparent in recent years. Considerable energy in my laboratory is focused on bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera). Among mammals, the order Chiroptera is second only to rodents in terms of species diversity and is an important component of terrestrial ecosystems throughout temperate, subtropical, and tropical areas of the world. Because of the morphological, ecological, and behavioral diversity within Chiroptera, bats provide an ideal opportunity to address several evolutionary and ecological hypotheses. Unfortunately, the rapid radiation of bats, coupled with the extraordinary diversity in behavior, habitat utilization, morphology, feeding strategies, and life-history strategies has complicated interpretations of phylogenetic relationships and phylogeographic patterns. It is the overall goal of my laboratory to provide a more accurate phylogenetic perspective on the relationships within Chiroptera at several taxonomic levels to allow for more detailed studies of the evolution of the amazing diversity portrayed by bats.
In addition to bats, my laboratory is also interested in ascertaining patterns of molecular diversity of a variety of other organisms to better understand the relative contribution of historic and contemporary processes (i.e., habitat fragmentation, contaminants, disease) to the partitioning of genetic variation within and among populations. It is our assertion that a better understanding of these processes is critical for the conservation of biodiversity.
- McClure-Baker, S. A., A. A. Echelle, R. A. Van Den Bussche, and A. F. Echelle. 2010. Genetic status of headwater catfish in Texas and New Mexico: A perspective from mtDNA and morphology. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 139: 1780 - 1791.
- Coyner, B. S., T. E. Lee, Jr., D. S. Rogers, and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2010. Taxonomic status and species limits of Perognathus (Rodentia: Heteromyidae) in the Southern Great Plains. The Southwestern Naturalist, 55: 1 - 10.
- Lack, J. B., and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2010. Identifying the confounding factors in resolving phylogenic relationships in Vespertilionidae. Journal of Mammalogy, 91:1435 - 1448.
- Lack, J. B., J. E. Wilkinson, and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2010. Nuclear DNA phylogeography reveals sex-biased dispersal in the pallid bat. Acta Chiropterologicai, 12: 401 - 414.
- Roehrs, Z. P., J. B. Lack, and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2010. Tribal phylogenetic relationships within Vespertilioninae (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) based on mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data. Journal of Mammalogy, 91:1073 - 1092.
- Moncrief, N. D., J. B. Lack, and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2010. Eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) lacks phylogographic structure: recent range expansion and phenotypic differentiation. Journal of Mammalogy, 91:1112 - 1123.
- Lack, J. B., Z. P. Roehrs, C. E. Stanley, Jr. , M. Ruedi, and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2010. Molecular phylogenetics of Myotis suggests familial-level divergence of the genus Cistugo (Chiroptera). Journal of Mammalogy, 91:976 - 992.
- Echelle, A. A., J. C. Hackler, J. B. Lack, S. R. Ballard, J. Roman, S. F. Fox, D. M. Leslie Jr., and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2010. Conservation genetics of the alligator snapping turtle: cytonuclear evidence of range-wide bottleneck effects and unusually pronounced geographic structure. Conservation Genetics, 11:1375 – 1387.
- Braun, J. K., M. A. Mares, B. S. Coyner, and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2010. A new species of Akodon (Rodentia, Cricetidae, Sigmodontinae) from Central Argentina. Journal of Mammalogy, 91:387 – 400.