My research emphasizes analysis of evolutionary patterns and the processes that produce them. Two large multi-year NSF-funded projects are underway: 1. AmphibiaTree, a consortium of four universities focused on production of a robust phylogenetic hypothesis for all species of amphibians using combinations of molecular, morphological and other data, and 2. HerpNET, a biodiversity informatics project to produce a fully geocoded distributed digital database of amphibians and reptiles in 40 North American museums. A subproject of AmphibiaTree is a web portal, AmphibiaWeb, for providing ready access to available information for all species of the world. The focus of most of my current research are the large and diverse salamander fauna of North America and the tropical forests of Central America, and ring species in western North America. I also am studying the geography of amphibian declines and disappearances, and factors responsible for these phenomena.
Parra-Olea, G, M. Garcâ€™a-Parâ€™s and D.B. Wake. 2004. Molecular diversification of salamanders of the tropical American genusBolitoglossa (Caudata: Plethodontidae) and its evolutionary and biogeographical implications. Biol. J. Linnean Soc. 81:325-346.
Garcia-Paris, M., M. Alcobendas, D. Buckley and D.B. Wake. 2003. Dispersal of viviparity across contact zones in Iberian populations of the Fire Salamanders (Salamandra) inferred from discordance of genetic and morphological traits. Evolution 57:129-143.
Autumn, K., M.J. Ryan and D.B. Wake. 2002. Integrating historical and mechanistic biology enhances the study of adaptation. Quart. Rev. Biology77:383-408.
Jockusch, E. and D.B. Wake. 2002. Falling apart and merging: diversification of slender salamanders (Plethodontidae: Batrachoseps) in the American West. Biol. J. Linnean Soc. 76:361-391.
Parra-Olea, G. and D.B. Wake. 2001. Extreme morphological and ecological homoplasy in tropical salamanders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98:7888-7891.
Garcia-Paris, M., D.A. Good, G. Parra-Olea and D.B. Wake. 2000. Biodiversity of Costa Rican salamanders: implications of high levels of genetic differentiation and phylogeographic structure for species formation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97:1640-1647.