Schneider Lab

Boston University


Research in the Schneider lab focuses on the systematics, population genetics and evolution of reptiles and amphibians. More specifically, we investigate the evolutionary processes and ecological contexts that generate and sustain biodiversity, particularly in tropical systems.

Tropical montane systems worldwide harbor as much as two-thirds of the worlds’ vertebrate biodiversity. Much of our work has focused on understanding why tropical montane systems are so diverse. Using an integrative approach that combined extensive field work with population genetics, systematics, and spatial modeling of genotype, phenotype and environment (both paleo- and current climate), we found that geographic complexity and strong environmental gradients interact with paleoclimatic changes to produce divergent natural selection and opportunities for allopatric divergence that have together produced the high biodiversity in tropical montane regions worldwide. You can learn more about this work, and important findings from various regions around the world, on our Research page. Our studies of the processes that produce and sustain biodiversity in Sri Lanka, the Ecuadoran Andes, Australia and elswhere highlight the importance of tropical montane regions worldwide for the conservation of vertebrate biodiversity. And because montane regions are likely to be disproportionately affected by climate change, conservation efforts in these regions have taken on even greater urgency. While we continue to work to translate our science into effective policy for conservation in the face of ongoing climate change, we are continuing research on the fundamental processes of adaptive divergence and speciation.

Of particular interest is a new line of research into the genetic basis of adaptive divergence in Anolis lizards, which comprise one of the great, vertebrate adaptive radiations. We are using a combination of comparative and population genomic approaches to elucidate the genetic basis of adaptive phenotypic evolution and, in particular, colorful pigmentation. You can read more about this, and all of our research, on our Research page.

I welcome applications from highly qualified students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in these or related fields.


Welcome to the Schneider Lab

Pseudophilautus schneideri, one of the more than 80 species of recently discovered frogs in Sri Lanka.

Anolis marmoratus from the Lesser Antillean island of Basse Terre, Guadeloupe

Ceratophora tennentii, one of the striking “snouted” lizards of Sri Lanka.