Dr. Christopher L. Parkinson

Principal Investigator

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Current Positions:

  • Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences & Dept. of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University

Previous Positions:

  • Professor, Dept. of Biology, University of Central Florida (UCF)

  • Special Assistant to the Provost on Faculty Cluster Initiatives, UCF

  • Chair, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Office of Research and Commercialization, UCF

  • Provosts Faculty Fellow, Academic Affairs, UCF

  • Associate Professor, Dept. of Biology, UCF

  • Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biology, UCF

  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Section of Amphibians and Reptiles, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dept. of Biology, Indiana University

  • Ph.D., University of Louisville, Environmental Biology, 1996.

  • B.S. and B.S., Ohio University, Wildlife Biology and Field Botany, 1990.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr. Jason L. Strickland

Postdoctoral Researcher

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My research interest lies at the intersection of phylogeography and trait evolution. I am interested in understanding how shared ancestry effects trait evolution within a species and among closely related species. My current work involves transcriptomics and genomics to understand the evolution of venom variability in venomous taxa by comparing the relative importance of sequence and expression variability. The common theme in the research projects I am working on is the use of phylogenetics to understand evolutionary processes


Ph.D. Students

Andrew Mason, M.S.

Ph.D. Candidate

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My research interests are centered on integrating the fields of phylogenetics, biogeography and ecology to answer questions about the roles of adaptation and evolution in speciation processes, especially among reptiles.  Currently, I am particularly interested in investigating how evolutionary and environmental pressures have affected venom adaptation in the sub-family Crotalinae.  Venoms vary markedly in their composition and function both within and among viper clades but many of the forces governing and directing venom evolution are poorly understood.  Of central interest to this topic are 1) the extents to which phylogenetic relationships and environmental factors drive venom adaptation through protein modification and expression, 2) the trade-offs associated with variation in venom complexity and function and 3) if there are recurring or fixed pathways of evolution among venoms with convergent function?  Information from this research will be used to further our understanding of how the evolution, environment and natural history of an organism interact to produce variable phenotypes in a mutable system (viperid venoms) under high selective pressure.

Rhett M. Rautsaw, M.S.

Ph.D. Student

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My interests lie at the intersection of evolutionary genetics and ecology. I am interested in trait evolution and ecological genomics; understanding how changes in the environment and niche space shape the genome and how selection acts to maintain these phenotypes. I hope to focus my career on convergent evolution to understand how similar phenotypes evolve across evolutionary distant lineages. Reaching these objectives require the combination of ecological, genetic, and geospatial data in order to fully understand the mechanisms driving distant taxa to occupy such similar niches.

M.S. Students


Erin Stiers

M.S. Student

Coming Soon! Snake microbiomes!

Tristan Schramer

M.S. Student

Coming Soon! Natricines?


Undergraduate Students

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