Matt Gifford, Assistant Professor of Biology
Research in my lab is focused on the physiology and ecology of vertebrate ectotherms (mainly lizards and salamanders). My research seeks to understand the mechanisms driving the spatial distributions of species, patterns and modes of speciation, how organismal physiology interacts with ecological constraints to influence variation in life-history strategies, and the potential impact of climate change on biodiversity. The approach I take combines field studies with laboratory experimentation and ecological modeling and is based in the southern Appalachian Mountains, Ouachita Mountains, and various other sites in Arkansas. For additional information, check out my lab website.
Current projects include the following:
- Patterns and modes of speciation in salamanders of the Plethodon glutinosus species group. Primary collaborator: Dr. Ken Kozak, University of Minnesota. Locations: SE US, Interior Highlands (Ouachitas, Ozarks).
- Ecological and physiological constraints on salamander species distributions. Primary collaborator: Dr. Ken Kozak, University of Minnesota. Location: Smoky Mountains National Park.
- The influence of thermal variation on organismal physiology. Key question: Are ecologically important physiological performance capacities tied closely to ambient environmental conditions? Locations: Ozark, Ouachita, and southern Appalachian Mountains.