Stepfanie Aguillon

Assistant Professor

lab website

Research Areas

Behavior, Evolutionary Biology

Research Interests

I am an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist with an interest in understanding how and why new species form in nature ("the speciation process"). My lab uses an interdisciplinary approach that integrates genomic sequencing techniques, field collections, museum specimens, and laboratory experiments. We leverage hybrid zones as natural experiments that test the boundaries between closely related species. Because hybridizing species are not yet completely reproductively isolated, they can help us uncover the mechanisms underlying the evolution of reproductive isolation and ultimately the process of speciation itself. Within my interest in the speciation process, I am also interested in the evolution of color and patterning in nature. Both can have important implications for survival and reproduction, and can be important early barriers in the speciation process. My lab focuses on uncovering the genetic basis of coloration differences between closely related species. The primary study systems in my lab are northern flickers (common woodpeckers distributed across North America) and live-bearing fish (Xiphophorus swordtails and Poecilia guppies).

Selected Publications

Aguillon, SM & AJ Shultz. 2023. Community-sourced sightings of atypical birds can be used to understand the evolution of plumage color and pattern. Ornithology. DOI: 10.1093/ornithology/ukad029 [link]

Aguillon, SM, TO Dodge, GA Preising, & M Schumer. 2022. Introgression. Current Biology DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.07.004 [link]

Aguillon, SM & VG Rohwer. 2022. Revisiting a classic hybrid zone: Movement of the northern flicker hybrid zone in contemporary times. Evolution DOI: 10.1111/evo.14474 [link]

Aguillon, SM, J Walsh, & IJ Lovette. 2021. Extensive hybridization reveals multiple coloration genes underlying a complex plumage phenotype. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2020.1805 [link]

Powell, DL, BM Moran, BY Kim, SM Banerjee, SM Aguillon, P Fascinetto‐Zago, QK Langdon, & M Schumer. 2021. Two new hybrid populations expand the swordtail hybridization model system. Evolution DOI: 10.1111/evo.14337 [link]

Aguillon, SM, G-F Siegmund, RH Petipas, AG Drake, S Cotner, & C. J. Ballen. 2020. Gender differences in student participation in an active-learning classroom. CBE—Life Sciences Education. DOI: 10.1187/cbe.19-03-0048 [link]

Mikles, CS, SM Aguillon, YL Chan, P Arcese, PM Benham, IJ Lovette, & J Walsh. 2020. Genomic differentiation and local adaptation on a microgeographic scale in a resident songbird. Molecular Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/mec.15647 [link]

Aguillon, SM, L Campagna, RG Harrison, & IJ Lovette. 2018. A flicker of hope: genomic data distinguish northern flicker taxa despite low levels of divergence. Auk. DOI: 10.1642/AUK-18-7.1 [link]

Aguillon, SM, JW Fitzpatrick, R Bowman, SJ Schoech, AG Clark, G Coop, & N Chen. 2017. Deconstructing isolation-by-distance: The genomic consequences of limited dispersal. PLoS Genetics. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006911 [link]