Shawn Billerman

Extension Associate

I am broadly interested in understanding patterns of avian speciation. My research takes advantage of museum collections and focuses on using hybrid zones to understand how intrinsic and extrinsic processes have influenced how and where species hybridize, and ultimately what factors are important to understanding reproductive isolation.

At the Cornell Lab, I am studying hybridization across five different hybrid zones from the Great Plains of North America, including Indigo and Lazuli Buntings, Rose-breasted and Black-headed Grosbeaks, Eastern and Spotted Towhees, Baltimore and Bullock’s Orioles, and the yellow-shafted and red-shafted forms of Northern Flicker. I use genomic data from specimens in the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates, as well as climate models to understand the important factors that have shaped these co-occurring hybrid zones. I am working with Dr. Irby Lovette and the Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program, and am funded by an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Education

Ph.D., University of Wyoming

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