Information for Prospective Graduate Students

Given that my own interests lie in phylogenetic systematics, population genetics, biogeography, and comparative biology, I anticipate that most students in my lab group will undertake research in one or both of these areas. However, I am willing to advise students working in other areas as long as the questions are interesting and close enough to my own areas of expertise that I can provide competent guidance. As a herpetologist, I also anticipate that most of my students will utilize reptiles and/or amphibians in their research. Nevertheless, I am willing to advise students interested in working with other groups. For example, I have an ongoing NSF-funded project investigating the history of high elevation adaptation in hummingbirds (with Chris Witt and Robert Dudley). Virtually any aspect of evolutionary or comparative biology is of interest including, but not limited to, phylogenetics, population genetics, molecular evolution, biogeography, biomechanics, and ecology.

The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology has excellent facilities for both molecular and morphological research. The museum's molecular lab is fully equiped with state of the art equipment including an ABI 3730 48-capillary automated sequencer. For data analysis, we have a 15-node Linux Cluster with each node running Intel Xeon 2.4 Ghz dual processors and 4 GB of DDR PC2100 System Memory. We will also be contributing to IB Professor John Huelsenbeck's Mac server-cluster, as well. The museum is committed to being on the technological leading edge and invests substantially in this effort.

The MVZ's amphibian and reptile holdings include more than 250,000 catalogued specimens, representing one of the most important research collections in the world. The museum also maintains a large frozen tissue collection (~90,000 vertebrate tissue samples) that underpins much of the museum's ongoing genetic research. The MVZ is a center for GIS-related research and is leading the way in the development and application of methods that integrate geographic and genetic data (i.e., see the MVZ on-line specimen database).

If you have any additional questions, contact Jim McGuire at:

Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
3101 Valley Life Sciences Building
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720
(510) 316-6201