Adaptation, the remarkable fit between organism and environment, is one of the least understood processes in biology. The reason is that adaptation relies on beneficial mutations, which are often too rare to study. Our work uses genomics to find the genetic changes that cause adaptation and test competing theories about how adaptations evolve.
Diversification is a process of lineage splitting: a single population becomes differentiated into two or more recognizably distinct populations or species. We study the ecological and genetic factors that drive this process and how they interact to determine the rate and extent of evolutionary diversification.
We strive to ensure that our fundamental research has real impact on the lives and well being of others. We have on-going research programs on the genetics of chronic infection in cystic fibrosis, the diversity and evolution of the microbial flora responsible for fermentation in traditional foods in Zambia, and the structure of diversity in natural soil communities of microbes in Canadian forests.