Join our lab

Amy Angert


Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

Amy joined the faculty at UBC in 2012. Previously she was an assistant professor at Colorado State University, completed two years of postdoctoral research at the University of Arizona, and attended graduate school at the University of Washington and Michigan State University.

Amy's CV

Current students and postdocs

Megan Bontrager


PhD candidate

Megan began her PhD in the Angert Lab in September 2012. She is
interested in factors shaping species distributions and the adaptation of species to marginal habitats. She is particularly interested in the genetic and demographic contributions of pollinators to processes that limit species' ranges. Additionally, she is investigating how gene flow and genetic structure across heterogeneous landscapes contribute to shaping ranges. She is pursuing these research directions using the annual wildflower Clarkia pulchella as a focal species. Her thesis work utilizes field experiments in natural populations, common gardens at the range edge, and population genomics.

Megan's website

Barb Gass


MSc student

Barb became captivated by high-elevation trees through exploration of mountains, deserts, taiga and volcanic landscapes. These frontier species mark an intangible threshold beyond which trees cannot pass. This boundary is remarkable in its own right, yet many of the native, non-commercial species at treeline are being further marginalized due to a convergence of threats. To help conserve these pioneers, her project investigates the potential of using ecophysiological traits as indicators of vulnerability to unfavourable conditions. Specifically, using Limber pine (Pinus flexilis) as a focal species, she is measuring needle traits and quantifying their variation and distribution along a latitudinal gradient to determine if they can be used as predictors of resistance to an invasive rust (Cronartium ribicola).

 

Rachel Germain


Biodiversity Postdoc Fellow

Rachel studies historical contingencies in ecology--how events that have occurred few, tens, or tens of millions of years in the past can have persistent effects on present-day ecological dynamics. Her current research tests how species' histories of competitive interactions have driven evolutionary divergence through the phenomenon of character displacement (CD). She aims to reinvigorate CD research by using methods that (i) have more power to detect CD, and provide (ii) a clear mechanistic understanding of how CD manifests, (iii) its strength relative to other evolutionary drivers, and (iv) its consequences for competitive outcomes among competing species.

Rachel's website

Anna Hargreaves


Biodiversity Postdoc Fellow

Anna is interested in the ecology and evolution of species interactions, species’ range limits, and their interface. Her research uses field experiments, theoretical and empirical syntheses, and simulation models to explore the evolutionary ecology of range limits and biotic interactions, especially pollination. She focuses on the relative importance of the abiotic environment, biotic interactions, and dispersal in limiting ranges, and how variation in fitness, selection and adaptation towards range limits might impact future evolution of niche breadth and dispersal.  

Anna's website

Chris Kopp


Postdoc

Chris is interested in how plant species in mountain environments have responded to recent climate change and how they will respond to future climate shifts. This interest includes understanding direct responses to climate as well as outcomes of novel species interactions. To test these responses he employs techniques such as resurveys, repeat photography, species removal and warming experiments. 

Chris's website

Qin Li


PhD candidate

Qin's research interests are generally in macroecology, evolution, and biogeography. Qin received her B.Sc in Biology and M.Sc in Ecology from Beijing Normal University where she studied wildlife monitoring (e.g.
infrared-camera trap for Amur tiger and other mammals) in boreal forest in northeastern China, as well as species distribution modeling for plants. Now Qin's work is focusing on niche divergence across the Mimulus genus, considering phylogenetic relatedness, evolutionary processes, and
geographic distribution attributes, using a combination of techniques (modeling, field work, and greenhouse experiments).

Chris Muir


Postdoc

Chris is an evolutionary biologist who uses ecophysiology as a way to
connect fitness tradeoffs to local adaptation and speciation. Physiologists have discovered numerous tradeoffs that organisms must confront in order
to survive and reproduce in a given environment. Such fitness tradeoffs are the theoretical foundation for most evolutionary models of local adaptation
and speciation. Despite decades of interest in an evolutionary physiology synthesis, there is still little integration between fields. The result is that we know little about the role of physiological tradeoffs in adaptive evolution,
even though such tradeoffs are widely assumed to be a significant cause of divergent natural selection between populations. The goal of Chris's
research is to renew and advance an evolutionary physiology synthesis in plants using comparative methods, genetics, field studies, and theory.

Chris's website

Rachel Wilson


MSc student

Rachel received her B.Sc in Biology at Queen's University, where she studied seed dispersal towards the altitudinal range limit of Geum triflorum. Currently, she is interested in the evolution and ecology of species distributions and whether species traits can be used to predict future range shifts in the face of climate change.

Devin Gamble

Honors thesis student

Devin is a 4th year undergraduate student in biology honors. He is interested in community and evolutionary ecology, especially in plants. His current project is looking at mating system variation in populations across the range of a mixed-mating wildflower (Clarkia pulchella). His work examines why populations differ in their reproductive strategy and which factors drive selection for self or cross-pollination.

 

Former lab members

Matthew Bayly


MSc student, 2013-2015
Currently: Data analyst, EcoFish Consulting

Through field translocation studies, Matt investigated dispersal limitation at
the northern range boundary of Mimulus cardinalis and conducted experimental tests of the predictions from ecological niche models.

Matt’s Blog

Seema Sheth


PhD student, Colorado State University, 2008-2014
Currently: NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California Berkeley

Seema is interested in understanding the processes that shape the geographic distributions of species. She examined how species' traits influence the limits and sizes of species' ranges across the genus Mimulus.

Seema's website

Sam Pironon


Visiting scholar, Fall 2013
Currently: PhD student, CSIC-Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, Spain

Sam's website

Anna Mária Csergő


Research Associate, University of British Columbia, 2012-2013
Currently: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Queensland

Anna asks: How are population dynamics are affected by environmental variability? What are the mechanisms linking traits, environment and biotic interactions to spatial population dynamics? Can the variation in
demographic rates be predicted from the position of populations
within the geographic range and within ecological niche space? Which demographic rates may signal persistent or shifting geographic ranges? She answers these questions by linking range-wide variation in population dynamics to spatially explicit predictions of habitat suitability.

Anna's website

John Paul


Post Doc, Colorado State University, 2008-2012
Currently: Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco

John uses a coalescent framework to infer demographic histories across species' ranges and test competing range limit hypotheses. His prior work examined species distribution and abundance from a phylogenetic perspective, asking if age is related to range size and how phylogenetic relatedness structures assemblages.

John's website

Erin Borgman


M.Sc., Colorado State University, 2011-2013
Ecologist - Field Coordinator, National Park Service

Erin's project involved examining maternal effects in long-lived plant species
to better account for the impact of the maternal environment during offspring development on early seedling growth. She also explored the degree of genetic differentiation among limber pine populations in the Southern Rocky Mountains to help improve the success of conservation actions.