We are broadly interested in identifying mechanisms that generate ecological and evolutionary diversity in amphibians and reptiles. We address questions across multiple scales ranging from populations to species and higher-level systematics. We are incredibly fortunate to be based at the California Academy of Sciences where biological collections are central to our research. 

Current Lab Projects

The evolution of visual systems during major life history transitions in frogs (in collaboration with Dr. Matt Fujita at the University of Texas Arlington, Dr. Jeff Streicher and Dr. David Gower at the Natural History Museum London, and an international team of frog vision experts and enthusiasts!)  This new project aims to characterize spectral, genetic, and morphological diversification of the visual system in relation to major ecological transitions in frogs. We received an NSF-NERC award in January 2017 and recently added two postdocs to the team (Dr. Ryan Schott based at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. and Dr. Kate Thomas based at the Natural History Museum in London).  

The genomics of hybridization in São Tomé reed frogs (in collaboration with Dr. Stefan Prost and the Timp Lab at Johns Hopkins University).  An ongoing project in the lab aims to integrate genomic, behavioral, ecological and morphological studies to characterize the roles of natural and sexual selection in structuring gene flow in the Hyperolius thomensisH. molleri hybrid zone on São Tomé Island. Data collection to sequence draft genomes for this ongoing project is generously funded by a Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Studies Award. 

Habitat conservation and adaptive strategies for recovery and conservation of Eleutherodactylus (coqui) frogs in Puerto Rico (in collaboration with Dr. Jaime Collazo at the U.S. Geological Survey North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Dr. Adam Terando and Dr. Mitchell Eaton at the U.S. Geological Survey Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, Dr. Alberto Puente Rolón at the University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez, and Dr. Eloy Martínez at Eastern Illinois University).  This multi-disciplinary project aims to gain foundational knowledge to develop a robust, well-informed adaptive conservation strategy to prevent Eleutherodactylus frogs endemic to the island of Puerto Rico from becoming “threatened” or “endangered”. The Bell Lab is leading the conservation genomics aims of this U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Climate Adaptation Science Center funded project.

Banner photo: Hyperolius thomensis. These colorful reed frogs are endemic to São Tomé Island and breed in water-filled tree hole cavities (photo by Andrew Stanbridge).