Research in the Rudman lab centers on using evolutionary genetics to better understand the fate of populations inhabiting changing environments. We combine field experiments, field collections, and analyses of genomic data to understand the factors that shape evolution and also examine rapid evolution influences populations and communities. We work primarily in organisms that are amenable to experimentation – flies, plankton, and small fish – but we always looking for new systems where interesting questions at the intersection of evolution, genetics, and ecology can be answered.

Observing adaptation in real time

We have field experiments and collections focused on understanding the process of adaptation as it occurs in natural populations. This work centers on using population-level replication to observe the action of natural selection on both phenotypic and genomic evolution. Prior work in this area includes manipulations of key factors thought to drive evolution – like the presence of competitive species.

Testing the contribution of genetic variation to adaptation

Evolutionary genetics in wild populations has uncovered patterns about how the amount and identity of genetic variation may influence adaptation. We use experiments to directly examine how key aspects of genetic variation influence the magnitude and pace of adaptation in response to environmental change.

Evolution and conservation

The pending biodiversity loss due to anthropogenic impacts is immense. Are their ways to encourage rapid adaptation that reduces the extent of biodiversity loss?  We conduct experiments with that manipulate gene flow, population size, and habitat quality to examine the relationships between these key parameters and the probability that populations persist in rapidly changing environments.

We are also open to research on related questions – particularly on inquiries focused on using tools from evolutionary genetics to better understand the fate of populations.