Welcome to the Shepard Lab at UCA!

Our lab uses amphibians and reptiles as models to understand the evolutionary and ecological mechanisms by which species originate and diversify through time. Much of our work involves generating and using molecular data to infer the evolutionary history of populations and species. We then integrate that information with spatially explicit environmental data to test hypotheses about the geographic and temporal pattern of diversification and the underlying factors driving divergence and speciation. Ongoing research in the lab is focused on 1) phylogeography, speciation, and systematics of North American plethodontid salamanders, 2) ecology and evolution of Ozark and Ouachita Mountain endemic species, and 3) amphibian and reptile conservation.

Our lab at the University of Central Arkansas has everything that a modern evolutionary biologist needs. The molecular lab is equipped wih thermocyclers, microcentrifuges, gel electrophoresis rigs, and a NanoDrop. We also have several computers loaded with a plethora of phylogenetic, population genetic, and GIS programs. Graduate students in the lab are enrolled in the MS degree program through the UCA Department of Biology. Undergraduate students working in the lab are being directed on independent study projects or mentored as part of their Honors Thesis project. We are always looking for highly motivated students interested in doing research. Click here for information about joining the lab.