Marlis R. Douglas

Marlis R. Douglas


Bruker Professorship in LIfe Sciences

J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences

(BISC)-Biological Sciences

Phone: 479-575-4176

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My research focuses on conservation and management of biodiversity. I strive to understand diversification of species, assemblages or communities within a landscape perspective, and how this knowledge can be translated into real-world applications.

In my lab, we use a variety of methods, such a molecular genetics (sequence, microsatellite and SNP analysis), geometric morphometrics, and field-ecology, to test hypotheses within divergent disciplines, such as: phylogeography, ecological speciation, radiation of species flocks, molecular and morphological evolution, and ecology of early life history stages.

Our research projects have primarily employed fishes as model organisms, but my team and I work on a variety of species (vertebrate: frogs, snakes, birds or mammals/ invertebrate: cave snails, mayflies, diving beetles). Our studies are conducted in a variety of habitats, from small desert springs and high altitude lakes to major rivers like the Colorado and its tributaries. 

We strive to combine theory with application, for this offers a more succinct approach to biodiversity conservation. Contemporary problems in conservation biology are often of an immediate nature, yet management must be adaptive and based upon a sound understanding of evolutionary history and ecology. Here, data are usually weakest. Yet, both initiatives (historical and contemporary) can be easily accommodated within the same intellectual pursuit.

Conservation genomics, molecular ecology, biogeography, biodiversity, conservation

Ph.D. University of Zurich, Switzerland, 1998

Selected Publications:

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.

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.

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.

2015 – Levine BA, Smith CF, Douglas MR, Davis MA, Schuett GW, Beaupre SJ, Douglas ME. 2015. Bateman-Trivers in the 21st Century: Sexual Selection in a North American Pitviper. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 114:436-445.

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.

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.