Biology Graduate Student Awarded National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Tyler Chafin
Photo provided

Tyler Chafin

Tyler K. Chafin, who received his doctorate in the spring while working in the lab of Marlis and Michael Douglas, professors in the biological sciences, was awarded a three-year, National Science Foundation "rules of life" post-doctoral fellowship with a focus on interdisciplinary research using biological collections.

The award promotes independence by allowing fellows to pursue their research topics at appropriate locations, independent of local funding. Fellows are mentored by sponsoring scientists. Chafin's mentors will be Scott Taylor, assistant professor of biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder; and Claudia Solís-Lemus, assistant professor of biology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

A recent understanding that the "tree of life" is less of a "tree" and more of a "web," with species-relationships a result of interbreeding as well as shared ancestry, has now promoted numerous entrepreneurial avenues of research.

Chafin's proposal, "Implications of Hybridization at Macroevolutionary and Contemporary Timescales," broadens and extends these endeavors by evaluating the prevalence of historic hybridization in fishes.

He will employ custom-designed target enrichment DNA "probes" to access the genomes of more than 500 preserved fishes housed in museum collections. Signatures of hybridization will allow him to test the "fates" of these lineages, i.e., their temporal duration, with results providing an explanation of why some species and/or families hybridize more frequently than others, and how this has impacted our understanding of historic diversification in fishes.

Contacts

Michael Edward Douglas, professor
Department of Biological Sciences
479-575-6343, med1@uark.edu

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