The origins and maintenance of natural variation is the central puzzle in evolutionary biology. What maintains variation within populations? How and why do populations diverge? How are populations transformed into reproductively isolated species? In the Fishman Lab, we use a variety of approaches – ranging from field and greenhouse experiments to genetic mapping and bioinformatics – to address these fundamental questions about evolution in flowering plants.
Our primary study system is the Mimulus guttatus species complex, and other members of the genus Mimulus (Phrymaceae, formerly Scrophulariaceae). This remarkably diverse group of plants has its center of diversity in Western North America and is an emerging model system for plant evolutionary, ecological, and functional genomics. Collaborative efforts have developed excellent genetic and genomic resources for Mimulus, including genetic and physical maps (mimulusevolution.org) and whole genome sequence (draft now available through Phytozome). These resources allow us to deeply investigate longstanding questions about the nature of species differences and species barriers.
We are currently advertising (see ad here) for a 2 year postdoc to work on selfish chromosomal evolution and related projects.
If you are interested in graduate studies in plant evolution, please contact Lila at (406) 243-5166 or lila.fishman (at) mso.umt.edu. We also often have positions available for post-baccalaureate researchers and undergraduate students (paid or for credit)