We study mammals, their ectoparasites, and even bacteria that live within the parasites. In the assemblages that we study, the parasites often track the evolutionary history of their hosts. There is much to learn about how and why distantly related organisms (like mammals, lice and bacteria) sometimes get trapped in long-term coevolutionary scenarios. In more recent work we’ve tried to address the question “to what extent can you infer the evolutionary history of the host (mammal) simply by uncovering the evolutionary history of the parasite (lice)?” My students study a broad array of evolutionary questions usually relating to mammals, and sometimes their parasites. We are generally applying techniques from phylogenetics, population genetics, coalescent simulations/modeling, and ecological niche modeling.
Please go to the Reed Lab Web Site for more information.