Current / Past Research / Research By Category

Publications 09.15.14

Aim To highlight the significant conservation challenge of evaluating peripheral endemic vertebrates in island archipelago systems and to assess empirically the complexities of approaches to conservation genetic studies across political and biogeographic boundaries. To demonstrate the poignant need for international collaboration and coordination when species delimitation problems with high conservation concern involve island endemics with biogeographically peripheral ranges. Location Southeast Asia, Lanyu...


Publications 09.15.14

Establishment of conservation priorities for primates is a particular concern in the island archipelagos of Southeast Asia, where rates of habitat destruction are among the highest in the world. Conservation programs require knowledge of taxonomic diversity to ensure success. The Philippine tarsier is a flagship species that promotes environmental awareness and a thriving ecotourism economy in the Philippines. However, assessment of its...


Research 09.06.14

Island ecosystems often consist of many types of unique organisms and therefore are very important to conservation efforts. Deforestation, pollution, and a lack of protection of these islands cause many species to go endangered or extinct. In order to protect these endemic species it is important for scientists to study and identify the phylogenetic lineages of the many species living here. This...


Research 09.05.14

Recent studies of forest lizards in Southeast Asia have revealed both physical and genetic differences within this family. These lizards are currently being threatened by the deforestation that is occurring in the region. Lizards in the Philippines are particularly vulnerable, as 84% of the lizard species there are found nowhere else on the planet. Though the threats faced by these lizards are...


Research 08.16.14

Elyse Freitas – Research Statement: With more than 1600 species, the lizard Family Scincidae is the most biodiverse group of lizards. The family has a cosmopolitan distribution and is found on every continent except Antarctica and on numerous oceanic islands. Consequently, Scincidae is ecologically and morphologically diverse and is a good system for studying the evolution and distribution of body form in...


Research 08.08.14

Over the last few years we have explored the patterns and processes of morphological character evolution and species-level diversification, focusing on understanding the biogeographic and evolutionary histories of Southeast Asian amphibians and reptiles.  Biodiversity in many complex landscapes is likely affected by similar geologic events and climatic changes. We am now pursuing several broader, more comparative approaches to understanding mechanisms driving diversification, and...


Publications 09.15.13

We provide a phylogenetic and population genetic evaluation of the illegal pet and bush meat trade of monitor lizards in the Philippines. We use a molecular dataset assembled from vouchered samples with known localities throughout the country, as a reference for statistical phylogenetic, population genetic, and DNA barcoding analyses of genetic material obtained during a three year survey of the Manila pet...


Publications 09.15.13

Recent conceptual, technological and methodological advances in phylogenetics have enabled increasingly robust statistical species delimitation in studies of biodiversity. As the variety of evidence purporting species diversity has increased, so too have the kinds of tools and inferential power of methods for delimiting species. Here, we showcase an organismal system for a data-rich, comparative molecular approach to evaluating strategies of species delimitation...


Publications 09.15.13

The diverse group of Asian wolf snakes of the genus Lycodon represents one of many poorly understood radiations of advanced snakes in the superfamily Colubroidea. Outside of three species having previously been represented in higher-level phylogenetic analyses, nothing is known of the relationships among species in this unique, moderately diverse, group. The genus occurs widely from central to Southeast Asia, and contains...


Publications 09.15.12

Species diversity in skinks in the genus Brachymeles recently has undergone a state of flux, with numerous taxonomic discoveries over the past few years. Newly available, robust data sets from morphological data and molecular sequences have revealed that taxonomic diversity within this unique groupof lizards is substantially underestimated. In this third recent monographic revision of a major Brachymeles clade, we review the...


Publications 09.15.12

The closed-canopy forests of Southeast Asia are home to an impressive number of vertebrates that have independently evolved morphologies that enhance directed aerial descent (gliding, parachuting). These assemblages include numerous mammal, frog, snake, and lizard clades. Several genera of gekkonid lizards, in particular, have evolved specialized structures such as cutaneous expansions, flaps, and midbody patagia, that enhance lift generation in the context...