About the lab

Brad ShafferWelcome to the Shaffer Lab. Research in our lab revolves around both conceptual and organismal themes. Conceptually, we generally take a historical or genetic approach to understanding organismal form, function, and diversity. We often, but not always, use molecular tools to establish a phylogenetic or population genetic framework to explain the history of a clade of organisms. Then, we use genetic, ecological, and morphological approaches to probe the ways in which members of that clade have diversified to exploit new habitats and life histories.

Organismally, we tend to study amphibians and reptiles. Our fondness for these animals is one of the strongest themes in our research group, and a fundamental respect for natural history and field studies guides all of us.

Our work in the last decade has spanned phylogenetic levels ranging from the tree of life of living turtle to detailed analyses of population history within individual species of amphibians and reptiles. Increasingly, our work contributes to the conservation and recovery of endangered species, particularly in California. We have had field projects in North, Central and South America, Asia, and Australia over the last 10 years, and all of us are actively engaged in field work at home and abroad. To learn more about the kinds of research conducted in our lab, check out our list of lab publications, the profiles of current and past members of our group, or Brad's webpage.

Currently recruiting new lab members

Brad and Jarrett If you are an undergraduate, a potential graduate student, or a postdoc with strong interests in applying evolutionary, ecological, or conservation theory to real world organisms, we may be a home for you. We are always interested in new lab members, particularly if you have a strong academic record, enjoy a demanding but productive work environment, and are interested in organismal biology. Many of our recruits have strong molecular and phylogenetic skills, although some of our recent graduates have never handled an pippeteman (and never want to).

We are actively recruiting potential graduate students who are excited about the interface of population biology, genetics, and conservation biology. As a part of the La Kretz Center, we have an ever stronger focus on conservation biology, and we are eagerly looking forward to developing new projects and collaborations in the fascinating, biologically-diverse Southern California landscape. If you are interested in the program and opportunities in conservation biology, landscape genetics, and evolutionary biology that our lab has traditionally pursued, and doing your work at UCLA, please contact Brad.

For additional information, check out the websites for the UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science. Potential grad students should also visit the web page for graduate studies in the EEB Department at UCLA.