Skip Navigation

Katharine A. Marske

Skip Side Navigation
a wild phd appears

Katharine A. Marske

Assistant Professor of Biology


Ph.D., University of Auckland
M.S., Montana State University
B.A., Luther College
405-325-3034 (Phone)
405-325-6202 (Fax)
SH 103

web page


My lab integrates phylogeography (geographical distribution of genetic variation) with other geographic and evolutionary ecology methods to understand the history of species within space. We investigate the historical factors which underlie intraspecific genetic diversification and the formation of species’ geographic ranges, and how these, in turn, contribute to species coexistence and the generation of contemporary large-scale biodiversity patterns.  We are also interested in using species’ responses to past environmental dynamics to better predict the consequences of contemporary environmental change.

Our research merges comparative phylogeography with biogeography, community ecology and macroecology.  We therefore welcome students, postdocs and collaborators from backgrounds as diverse as the species we study.

I am actively recruiting graduate students, so please get in touch! (  Current projects include: 

Genetic divergence in a young and ancient landscape

New Zealand has long fascinated biogeographers because of its long-term geographic isolation and young, physically dynamic landscape.  This region is thus ideal for investigating how environmental change, dispersal and vicariance have shaped genetic patterns within and among species.  We are using genomic methods to study the drivers of concordance (and lack thereof) in phylogeographic patterns among forest beetles which have coexisted in these landscapes for millennia.

Assembly history of ecological communities

We are investigating the continental-scale phylogeographic structure of North American and European amphibians to assess whether the historical events which generated these patterns have also left their mark on the species composition of local communities.  This project integrates data and methods from phylogeography and community ecology, including survey data from approximately 7,000 amphibian communities, to shed insights into the role of past dispersal in shaping contemporary patterns of species coexistence.

Large-scale patterns in phylogeography

Phylogeography unites the genetic and spatial tools necessary to understand the history of a species within its place.  Replicated across species, these allow us to investigate the role of such drivers as climatic stability and dispersal in the generation and maintenance of genetic diversity and divergence, from regional to global scales.  Via synthesis of continental and global datasets, we are able make new inroads into these and other long-standing questions, and assess current and future threats to this ‘new’ aspect of biodiversity.


  • Miraldo A, S Li, MK Borregaard, A Flórez-Rodríguez, S Gopalakrishnan, M Rizvanovic, Z Wang, C Rahbek, KA Marske & D Nogués-Bravo. 2016.  An Anthropocene map of genetic diversity. Science 353: 1532-1535.
  • Lessard JP, B Weinstein, MK Borregaard, KA Marske, JA McGuire, JL Parra, C Rahbek & CH Graham. 2016. Process-based definitions of species pools reveal hidden patterns of community structure along environmental gradients. American Naturalist 187: 75-88.
  • Marske KA, C Rahbek and D Nogués-Bravo. 2013. Phylogeography: spanning the ecology-evolution continuum.  Ecography 36: 1169–1181. 
  • Marske KA, RAB Leschen & TR Buckley. 2012. Concerted versus independent evolution and the search for multiple refugia: Comparative phylogeography of four forest beetles. Evolution 66: 1862-1877. 
  • Lorenzen ED*, D Nogués-Bravo*, L Orlando*, J Weinstock*, J Binladen*, KA Marske* (*contributed equally), A Ugan, MK Borregaard, MTP Gilbert, R Nielsen, SYW Ho, T Goebel, KE Graf, D Byers, JT Stenderup, M Rasmussen, PF Campos, JA Leonard, KP Koepfli, D Froese, G Zazula, TW Stafford, Jr., K Aaris-Sørensen, P Batra, AM Haywood, JS Singarayer, PJ Valdes, G Boeskorov, JA Burns, SP Davydov, J Haile, DL Jenkins, P Kosintsev, T Kuznetsova, X Lai, LD Martin, HG McDonald, D Mol, M Meldgaard, K Munch, E Stephan, M Sablin, RS Sommer, T Sipko, E Scott, MA Suchard, A Tikhonov, R Willerslev, RK Wayne, A Cooper, M Hofreiter, A Sher, B Shapiro, C Rahbek & E Willerslev. 2011. Species-specific responses of Late Quaternary megafauna to climate and humans. Nature  479: 359-364.  
  • Svenning JC, C Fløjgaard, KA Marske, D Nogués-Bravo & S Normand. 2011. Applications of species distribution modeling to paleobiology. Quaternary Science Reviews 30: 2930-2947.  
  • Marske KA, RAB Leschen & TR Buckley. 2011. Reconciling phylogeography and ecological niche models for New Zealand beetles: looking beyond glacial refugia. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59: 89-102.