Faculty

Michael Edward Douglas

Michael Edward Douglas

Professor

J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences

(BISC)-Biological Sciences

Phone: 479-575-6343

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Research: I am a molecular ecologist/ conservation biologist with broad interests in quantitative ecology, evolution, and various 'genomics' (i.e., meta-, phylo-, and conservation). Much research in our lab focuses on the genetic variation found in communities, species, populations and metapopulations, and the manner by which it is impacted by historical and contemporary habitat fragmentation (where connectivity is defined as the amount of gene flow — or effective dispersal — amongst habitats). To do so, we derive and analyze ‘legacy’ molecular markers [i.e., microsatellite (msat) fragments] and those more contemporary [i.e., single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)] that identify migrants, define corridors, and gauge the potential for adaptive management (such as assisted migration). Our taxonomic focus is broad, and includes endangered, threatened and relictual species (i.e., with smaller population sizes), as well as those with distributions more global. We also work actively with invasive species and use molecular tools to quantify the biodiversity of parasitic helminths.

Student projects employ next generation sequencing strategies to identify thousands of informative SNPs spanning the entire genomes of diverse study species. For example, one project identifies those genomic regions evolving under natural selection in a broadly distributed North American freshwater minnow (Speckled Dace, Rhinichthys osculus). A second develops SNP panels that diagnose and characterize admixture among endemic freshwater fishes (genus Gila) and their introduced, non-native relatives in the Colorado River of western North America. A third detects signatures of selection among adaptively divergent radiations of freshwater suckers (Catostomidae).

Others characterize microbiomes of freshwater streams impacted by fracking, quantify movements of invasive Brown Tree Snake (Colubridae, Boiga irregularis) in Guam using SNPs as molecular tags, and assay zones of hybridization/ introgression in North American Box Turtles (genus Terrapene). Each project operates at the population level and generates data at the terabyte scale. All share an inordinate reliance upon resources at the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center (AHPCC). Expectations focus on timely completion of computationally intensive tasks such as de novo aligning of ‘reads,’ parsing/ analyzing thousands of loci across hundreds of samples, and deriving phylogenomic inferences from massive SNP supermatrices.

Outreach: We also utilize our molecular markers to decipher the long, convoluted history of the North American biota, and to devise adaptive management scenarios that conserve its genetic variability within regions and across landscapes. We interact closely with applied conservation practitioners, thus ensuring that our broad, multidisciplinary research reflects the best science available, and that our managerial recommendations are adaptive, relevant, and sustainable.

Education: Our research approach transects multiple disciplines and embraces cutting-edge technologies. We employ them to instruct a new generation of scientist in the theories and methods of biodiversity recognition, definition, conservation, and restoration. We are committed to these goals and believe our stewardship will help motivate students, colleagues, and cooperators as we move into an uncertain future.

Global change and conservation biology, phylogeography, quantitative and molecular ecology

Biol 4153 - Biology of Global Change

Biol 4152 - Biology of Global Change Seminar

1980 – Busch Post-Doctoral Fellow, Rutgers University

1979 – Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Oklahoma

1978 – NIH Post-Doctoral Fellow, Princeton University

1978 – University of Georgia - Zoology (Ph.D.)

1977 – NIH Pre-Doctoral Fellow, University of Georgia   

1974 – University of Louisville - Biology (M.S.)         

1970 – University of Louisville - Zoology (B.S.)

1968 – United States Army draftee

Selected Publications:

2017 – Mussmann S, Anthonysamy WJB, Douglas MR, Davis MA, Simpson SA, Louis W, Douglas ME. Genetic rescue, the greater prairie chicken, and conservation reliance in the Anthropocene. Royal Society Open Science 4, 160736.

2017 – Johnson WH, Douglas MR, Lewis JA, Steucker TN, Carbonero FG, Austin B, Evans-White MA, Entrekin SA, Douglas ME. Do biofilm communities respond to chemical signatures of fracking? A test involving stream microbiomes in North-central Arkansas. BMC Microbiology 17, 29.

2016 - Davis MA, Douglas MR, Collyer ML, Douglas ME. Deconstructing a species-complex: Geometric morphometric and molecular analyses define the Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis). PLoS ONE 11(1), e0146166.

2016 - Regmi B, Douglas MR, Anthonysamy WJB, Douglas ME, Leberg PL. Salinity and hydrological barriers have little influence on genetic structure of Mosquitofish in a coastal landscape shaped by climate change. Hydrobiologia 774, 1-15.

2016 - Douglas MR, Davis MA, Amarello M, Smith JJ, Schuett GW, Herrmann H-W, Holycross AT, Douglas ME. Anthropogenic impacts drive niche and conservation metrics of a cryptic rattlesnake on the Colorado Plateau of western North America. Royal Society Open Science 3, 160047.

2015 - Douglas MR, Slyn’ko YV, Dgebuadze YY, Olenin S, Aleksandrov B, Boltachev A, Slyn’ko EE, Khristenko D, Minchin D, Pavlov DF, Reshetnikov AN, Vekhov DA, Ware CJ, Douglas ME. Invasion ecology: An international perspective centered in the Holarctic. Fisheries 40, 464-470.

2015 – Davis MA, Douglas MR, Webb CT, Collyer ML, Holycross AT, Painter CW, Kamees LK, Douglas ME. Nowhere to go but up: Impacts of climate change on demography of a short-range endemic in the Sky-Islands of southwestern North America. PLoS One 10(6), e0131067.

2014 - Sullivan BK, Douglas MR, Walker JM, Cordes JE, Davis MA, Anthonysamy WJB, Sullivan KO, Douglas ME. Conservation and management of polytypic species: The Little Striped Whiptail complex (Aspidoscelis inornata) as a case study. Copeia 2014, 519–529 < Awarded Best Paper in Herpetology – 2014).

2013 - Hopken MW, Douglas MR, Douglas ME. Stream hierarchy defines riverscape genetics of a North American desert fish. Molecular Ecology 22, 956–971.

2011 - Douglas MR, Slyn’ko YV, Kohl S, Lane C, Slyn’ko EE, Douglas ME. Crossroad blues: An intersection of rivers, wetlands, and public policy. Fisheries 36, 337–339.

2010 - Douglas ME, Douglas MR, Schuett GW, Beck DD, Sullivan BK. Conservation phylogenetics of Helodermatid lizards using multiple molecular markers and a supertree approach. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 55, 153—167.

2010 - Kelly AC, Mateus-Pinilla NE, Douglas MR, Douglas ME, Brown W, Ruiz MO, Killefer J, Shelton P, Beissel T, Novakofski J. Utilizing disease surveillance to examine gene flow and dispersal in White-tailed Deer. Journal of Applied Ecology 47, 1189–1198.

2009 - Douglas ME, Douglas MR, Schuett GW, Porras LW. Climate change and evolution of the New World pitviper genus Agkistrodon (Viperidae). Journal of Biogeography 36, 1164—1180.

2007 - Holycross, AT, Douglas ME. Geographic isolation, genetic divergence, and ecological non-exchangeability define conservation units in a threatened sky-island rattlesnake. Biological Conservation 134, 142—154.

2006 - Douglas ME, Douglas MR, Schuett GW, Porras LW. Evolution of Rattlesnakes (Viperidae: Crotalus) in warm deserts of western North America shaped by Neogene vicariance and Quaternary climate change. Molecular Ecology 15, 3353—3374.