Daniel Spalink is an Assistant Professor of Plant Systematics in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M University and Director of the S.M. Tracy Herbarium (TAES). Daniel received his Ph.D. from the Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under Dr. Kenneth Sytsma, where he studied the ecological and biogeographical diversification of the sedge family, Cyperaceae. He then conducted a postdoc under Dr. Thomas Givnish at UW-Madison, where he studied the biogeography and diversification of the orchid family (Orchidaceae) and the spatial structure of phylogenetic diversity in the Wisconsin flora. Before joining the faculty at Texas A&M University, Daniel conducted a second postdoc under Dr. Lynn Bohs at the University of Utah, where he studied the genomic structure of phylogenetic discordance in the pepper tribe, Capsiceae.
Dr. Daniel Spalink CV
Current Graduate Students
Katie was born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT. She received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Utah, where she cultivated a love for plants. Her major interests concern the evolution, diversification, and historical biogeography of bryophytes (non-vascular plants). Her research is focused on using phylogenetics, biogeography, and population genetics to understand the ecological and intrinsic factors that contribute to the movement, colonization, and diversification of mosses. Katie’s favorite extra-curricular activities include gardening, hiking in her favorite place (the Wasatch Mountains), and keying out plants.
Kyle hails from the small town of Anna, Texas, where his love for the natural world, first birds and then plants, was awakened. He received his B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from The University of Texas at Austin. Kyle’s research focuses on rare plant conservation. He is currently working on a phylogeny of Leavenworthia, a genus restricted to glades in eastern North America, population genetics of imperiled Leavenworthia species, assessments of community composition in eastern North American glades, and conservation of the rare, Texas glade-endemic species: Leavenworthia texana and Physaria pallida. In his free time, Kyle enjoys botanizing, taking pictures (mainly of plants), and tending to his collection of Cactaceae and Crassulaceae (his two favorite plant families).
Lydia is a Salt Lake City, UT native. She attended the University of Utah, where she received a BS in philosophy, emphasizing in Philosophy of Science. She’s fascinated by the process of evolution, and she strives to understand the complex interactions between organisms and their environment over time and space. She’s excited to study the ecology, historical biogeography, and evolution of Platanthera (the Butterfly Orchids). Aside from all things philosophy and biology, Lydia loves spending time in her garden, cooking, and reading.
Please join us!
PhD and MS graduate student positions are available in the Spalink Lab at Texas A&M University beginning in Fall 2019. Lab research concentrates on the intersection of evolution, ecology, and geography with an emphasis on modeling the roles of time, space, and form in the diversification and maintenance of life. The lab’s ultimate goal is to merge our understanding of the evolutionary history of plant lineages with observed patterns of biodiversity within and across landscapes. In observing diversity around the world in the context of global change, we ask: What is here? Why is it here? Where is it going? Projects in the Spalink Lab range from analyzing the dynamics of genetic diversity within species to the evolution of entire orders, and from regional patterns of community assembly to the global structure of phylogenetic, functional, and morphological diversity. Students with interests in a wide variety of taxonomic groups and geographic localities are welcomed to apply.
Students with interests or skills in any of the following are encouraged to apply:
• Plant systematics
• Community or spatial ecology
• Community assembly
• Population genetics
• Species distribution modeling
• Evolutionary morphometrics
• Spatial phylogenetics
• Conservation biology
• Genomics and genome evolution
• Impacts of global change on species and communities
Graduate students in the Spalink Lab have full access to the S.M. Tracy Herbarium, a vibrant and rapidly expanding collection of over 350,000 specimens. Resources for learning or improving bioinformatics skills abound at Texas A&M University. We have multiple core genomics facilities, high-throughput and high-performance computer clusters, growth chambers, greenhouses, and field research sites throughout Texas. Students in the Spalink Lab can opt for degrees in Ecosystem Science and Management, Dr. Spalink’s home department, or the cross-departmental EEB program, of which he is a core faculty member.
Texas is a fantastic location for botanists. With over 5600 species, Texas is the second most diverse state in the U.S. With a strong longitudinal precipitation and elevation gradient, latitudinal temperature gradient, dynamic volcanic history, exposed bedrock dating back a billion years, and an extensive coastline, Texas has tremendous edaphic and climatic heterogeneity. This results in everything from extremely arid deserts to wet conifer forests, and from montane prairies to coastal plains, all converging in Texas.
Interested applicants should contact Dr. Daniel Spalink (firstname.lastname@example.org) and provide a description of their research interests and a CV/resume. Initial screening of students will begin immediately. For full consideration, applications are due 15 February 2019. However, we strongly recommend applying by 15 December 2018 to ensure full consideration for departmental and college fellowship opportunities. The Department of Ecosystem Sciences and Management, EEB, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have many opportunities for fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. Details regarding the application process can be found here (ESSM) and here (EEB).
We especially encourage applications from members of any social group that has traditionally been, or continues to be, underrepresented in STEM.