Join our lab

Amy Angert

amy.angert at
Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

Amy joined the faculty at UBC in 2012. Previously she was an assistant professor at Colorado State University, completed two years of postdoctoral research at the University of Arizona, and attended graduate school at the University of Washington and Michigan State University.

Amy's CV

Current students and postdocs

Daniel Anstett

daniel.anstett at
Banting Postdoc Fellow

Daniel is broadly interested in the biogeography of species interactions. For his PhD he studied how herbivory and plant defence vary across a latitudinal gradient in common evening primrose. He also has an interest in landscape genetics, especially when considering adaptive traits. At UBC he is spearheading a resurrection study to investigate evolutionary rescue in the scarlet monkeyflower.

Daniel's website

Megan Bontrager

bontrag at
PhD candidate

Megan began her PhD in the Angert Lab in September 2012. She is
interested in factors shaping species distributions and the adaptation of species to marginal habitats. She is particularly interested in the genetic and demographic contributions of pollinators to processes that limit species' ranges. Additionally, she is investigating how gene flow and genetic structure across heterogeneous landscapes contribute to shaping ranges. She is pursuing these research directions using the annual wildflower Clarkia pulchella as a focal species. Her thesis work utilizes field experiments in natural populations, common gardens at the range edge, and population genomics.

Megan's website

Haley Branch

haley.branch at
PhD student

Haley completed her MSc at the University of Toronto, where she studied the effects of heat stress on reproductive development in Trianthema portulacastrum, a desert plant. She is interested in how plant communities will respond to changes in environmental stresses due to climate change. She is particularly interested in the role plant physiology plays in determining community assemblage under novel stresses. For her PhD, she is studying the role that habitat microrefugia might play in buffering plant populations and communities facing climate change.

Rachel Germain

rgermain at
Biodiversity Postdoc Fellow

Rachel studies historical contingencies in ecology--how events that have occurred few, tens, or tens of millions of years in the past can have persistent effects on present-day ecological dynamics. Her current research tests how species' histories of competitive interactions have driven evolutionary divergence through the phenomenon of character displacement (CD). She aims to reinvigorate CD research by using methods that (i) have more power to detect CD, and provide (ii) a clear mechanistic understanding of how CD manifests, (iii) its strength relative to other evolutionary drivers, and (iv) its consequences for competitive outcomes among competing species.

Rachel's website

Chris Kopp

ckopp at
Teaching and Research Postdoc

Chris is interested in how plant species in mountain environments have responded to recent climate change and how they will respond to future climate shifts. This interest includes understanding direct responses to climate as well as outcomes of novel species interactions. To test these responses he employs techniques such as resurveys, repeat photography, species removal and warming experiments. 

Chris's website

Qin Li at
PhD candidate

Qin's research interests are generally in macroecology, evolution, and biogeography. Qin received her B.Sc in Biology and M.Sc in Ecology from Beijing Normal University where she studied wildlife monitoring (e.g.
infrared-camera trap for Amur tiger and other mammals) in boreal forest in northeastern China, as well as species distribution modeling for plants. Now Qin's work is focusing on niche divergence across the Mimulus genus, considering phylogenetic relatedness, evolutionary processes, and
geographic distribution attributes, using a combination of techniques (modeling, field work, and greenhouse experiments).

Curtis Logan

Undergraduate directed studies

Curt spent the summer elbow-deep in Mimulus in the greenhouse, where he became curious about morphological variation within and among populations. He is beginning a directed studies project to test whether aberrant plants with gigantism could be neopolyploids.

Takuji Usui

usuitakuji at
PhD student

Takuji is interested in processes that promote or hinder adaptation to novel conditions as experienced beyond a species' range. He is particularly interested in the role of local adaptation and gene flow in shaping range limits, and more generally in how we can use population and quantitative genetics as well as demography to better model peripheral and expanding populations. Relatedly, he is interested in discerning when adaptive responses and range shifts will occur due to climate change. During his PhD he will use a combination of field experiments with genetic and statistical modelling.

Former lab members

Chris Muir

cdmuir at
Biodiversity Postdoc, 2013-2016
Currently: Computational biologist, Novozymes BioAg

Chris is an evolutionary biologist who uses ecophysiology as a way to connect fitness tradeoffs to local adaptation and speciation. The goal of Chris's research is to renew and advance an evolutionary physiology synthesis in plants using comparative methods, genetics, field studies, and theory.

Chris's website

Rachel Wilson

rachelnora.wilson at
MSc student, 2014-2016

Rachel backpacked all over the North Cascades to resurvey legacy vegetation plots and assess changes in species' distributions along elevation gradients. She found that most species have not shifted their ranges over the past 30-40 years, despite substantial increases in winter temperatures. However, many species decreased in abundance within their historic ranges.

Devin Gamble

Honors thesis, 2017

Devin looked at mating system variation among populations across the range of a mixed-mating wildflower (Clarkia pulchella). His work examined why populations differ in their reproductive strategy and which climatic factors drive selection for self or cross-pollination.


Anna Hargreaves

alhargreaves at
Biodiversity Postdoc Fellow, 2014-2016
Currently: Assistant Professor, McGill University

Anna is interested in the ecology and evolution of species interactions, species’ range limits, and their interface. Her research uses field experiments, theoretical and empirical syntheses, and simulation models to explore the evolutionary ecology of range limits and biotic interactions, especially pollination. She focuses on the relative importance of the abiotic environment, biotic interactions, and dispersal in limiting ranges, and how variation in fitness, selection and adaptation towards range limits might impact future evolution of niche breadth and dispersal.  

Anna's website

Barb Gass

barbgass at
MSc student, 2014-2016
Currently: Research Technician, Alberta Tree Improvement and Seed Centre

Barb worked on the physiolgoy and conservation of Limber pine (Pinus flexilis). She measured needle traits and quantified their variation and distribution along a latitudinal gradient to determine if they can be used as predictors of resistance to an invasive rust (Cronartium ribicola).


Matthew Bayly

bayly at
MSc student, 2013-2015
Currently: Data analyst, EcoFish Consulting

Through field translocation studies, Matt investigated dispersal limitation at
the northern range boundary of Mimulus cardinalis and conducted experimental tests of the predictions from ecological niche models.

Matt’s Blog

Seema Sheth

ssheth at
PhD student, Colorado State University, 2008-2014
Currently: Assistant Professor, North Carolina State

Seema is interested in understanding the processes that shape the geographic distributions of species. She examined how species' traits influence the limits and sizes of species' ranges across the genus Mimulus.

Seema's website

Sam Pironon

samuel.prionon at
Visiting scholar, Fall 2013
Currently: PhD student, CSIC-Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, Spain

Sam's website

Anna Mária Csergő

anna.maria.csergo at
Research Associate, University of British Columbia, 2012-2013
Currently: Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Dublin

Anna asks: How are population dynamics are affected by environmental variability? What are the mechanisms linking traits, environment and biotic interactions to spatial population dynamics? Can the variation in
demographic rates be predicted from the position of populations
within the geographic range and within ecological niche space? Which demographic rates may signal persistent or shifting geographic ranges? She answers these questions by linking range-wide variation in population dynamics to spatially explicit predictions of habitat suitability.

Anna's website

John Paul

jrpaul at
Post Doc, Colorado State University, 2008-2012
Currently: Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco

John uses a coalescent framework to infer demographic histories across species' ranges and test competing range limit hypotheses. His prior work examined species distribution and abundance from a phylogenetic perspective, asking if age is related to range size and how phylogenetic relatedness structures assemblages.

John's website

Erin Borgman

erin.meier at
M.Sc., Colorado State University, 2011-2013
Currently: Ecologist - Field Coordinator, National Park Service

Erin's project involved examining maternal effects in long-lived plant species
to better account for the impact of the maternal environment during offspring development on early seedling growth. She also explored the degree of genetic differentiation among limber pine populations in the Southern Rocky Mountains to help improve the success of conservation actions.