Wilson Guillory

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Wilson Guillory

Email:  wilson.guillory@siu.edu

Advisor:  Dr. Jason Brown

Research Interest

guilloryI am interested in the evolution and maintenance of biodiversity through ecological and geospatial processes. Much of my research focuses on the evolution and phylogenetics of dendrobatid poison frogs, a charismatic amphibian family distributed throughout the Neotropics. I have constructed the first comprehensive phylogeny of the dendrobatid genus Ameerega using genome-scale genetic markers called ultraconserved elements. The phylogeny will provide amphibian researchers with a more concrete backbone for evolutionary and biogeographic studies in this genus. I have also uncovered evidence for at least five undescribed species in Ameerega, and evidence that two more should be synonymized with a sister taxon. 

I am also interested in phylogenetic and phylogeographic methods development and am developing an R package to estimate the ancestral distributions of clades through a combination of ecological niche modeling and ancestral character estimation. The most widely-used methods for "ancestral area reconstruction" treat the regions occupied by terminal taxa as discrete units, which obscures much of the nuance that is omnipresent in real-life species distributions. My method quantifies these fine-scale distributions using ecological niche modeling, then parses each model and uses ancestral character estimation to construct models at hypothetical ancestors along the branches of a given phylogeny. Using our lab's paleoclimatic datasets from Paleoclim.org, these ancestral niche models can be projected onto relevant paleoclimatic data to provide robust estimates of a clade's distribution as far back as the Miocene.