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Hayley C. Lanier

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Hayley C. Lanier

Assistant Professor of Biology

Assistant Curator of Mammalogy
Sam Noble Museum

Ph.D., University of Alaska Fairbanks
B.S., University of Kansas
405-325-6202 (Fax)

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curriculum vitae


The overarching goal of research in my lab is to develop a synthetic understanding of the underlying mechanisms that drive evolution along geographic and climatic gradients through time. This work integrates population genetic, phylogeographic, phylogenetic, and morphological approaches to address fundamental questions regarding the distribution and maintenance of biodiversity.

I am currently recruiting graduate students, feel free to contact me at Current projects in my lab include:

Montane biogeography and genomic divergence

Understanding the role that intrinsic biological characteristics, historical factors, and chance play in determining the diversification within and between species is critical to understanding and predicting species responses to climate change. One aspect of work in my lab focuses on montane systems, and using genomic methods to examine the role of historical and ecological factors in structuring mammalian biodiversity in those habitats.

Ecogeographic variation and short-term responses to climate change

One of the exciting new avenues of research in museum collections involves investigating short-term population responses over decadal timescales. Tending to be distributional, phenological, or phenotypic in nature, these responses can be revealing with respect to the potential for phenotypic plasticity and/or rapid adaptive change within a population. This work incorporates resurveys of historically-documented mammal populations and using quantitative tests of morphological shifts and associated genomic backgrounds to understand phenotypic responses and population shifts in response to climate change.

Community responses to acute environmental change

A newer project my lab has become involved in over the last few years involves fire ecology over a 28-year interval in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Initially begun after the record-breaking 1988 fire season, this collaborative project focuses on how and why communities shift during succession. A recent (2016) fire on our study grids provides an additional perspective, as we now have ecological data and vouchered specimens from before and after this dramatic ecological event. This allows us to look at not only community composition and species interactions during succession, but the evolutionary ecological implications of this strong environmental stressor.

Recent Publications

  • Knowles, LL, R Massatti, Q He, LE Olson, and HC Lanier. 2016. Quantifying the similarity between genes and geography across Alaska’s alpine small mammals. Journal of Biogeography 43:1464-1476
  • Lanier, HC, R Massatti, Q He, LE Olson, and LL Knowles. 2015. Colonization from divergent ancestors: glaciation signatures on contemporary patterns of genetic variation in collared pikas. Molecular Ecology 24:3688–3075
  • Lanier, HC and LL Knowles. 2015. Applying species-tree analyses to deep phylogenetic histories: Challenges and potential suggested from a survey of empirical phylogenetic studies. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 83:191-199
  • Natarajan, C, FG Hoffmann, HC Lanier, ZA Cheviron, ML Spangler, RE Weber, A Fago, and JF Storz. 2015. Intraspecific polymorphism, interspecific divergence, and the origins of function-altering mutations in deer mouse hemoglobin. Molecular Biology & Evolution doi: 10.1093/molbev/msu403
  • Lanier, HC, AM Gunderson, M Weksler, VB Fedorov, and LE Olson. 2015. Comparative phylogeography of eastern Beringian mammals highlights the double-edged sword of climate change faced by arctic- and alpine-adapted species. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0118396
  • Lanier, HC, H Huang, and LL Knowles. 2014. How low can you go? The effects of mutation rate on the accuracy of species-tree reconstruction. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 70:112-119
  • Lanier, HC, DL Edwards, and LL Knowles. 2013. Phylogenetic structure of vertebrate communities across the Australian arid zone. Journal of Biogeography 40:1059-1070
  • Lanier, HC and LE Olson. 2013. Deep barriers, shallow divergences: reduced phylogeographic structure in the collared pika (Ochotona collaris). Journal of Biogeography 40:466-478
  • Reese, AT, HC Lanier, and EJ Sargis. 2013. Skeletal indicators of ecological specialization in pika (Mammalia, Ochotonidae). Journal of Morphology 247:585-602
  • Lanier, HC and LL Knowles. 2012. Is recombination a problem for species-tree analyses? Systematic Biology 61:691-701