Phylogeny of frog genus <i>Cardioglossa</i>
Phylogeny of African frog genus Cardioglossa based on DNA sequences. From Blackburn et al. (2021; Ichthyology & Herpetology).

We are interested in the evolutionary history of frogs, including both living and extinct species. Using population genetic and phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, the lab is exploring topics such as patterns of diversification related to the evolution of specific traits and how historical landscape change impacts gene flow among populations. With evolutionary trees in hand, we then ask questions related to historical biogeography and trait evolution.

We also use fossils to understand the diversity of extinct frogs. In addition to knowing what lineages occurred where and when, fossils can provide insights into the biology of extinct frogs. We hope that our studies of fossils can answer questions related to when important traits evolved or how frogs might have responded to important events in the Earth’s history, such as the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous.

comparisons of fossil frog humerus to those from recent species
Comparison of humerus of fossil frog from Oligocene of Puerto Rico to similar bone from living species of Eleutherodactylus and related genera. From Blackburn et al. (2020; Biology Letters).