Ben Evans is an Associate Professor in the Biology Department at McMaster University (Canada). His research interests center on evolutionary genomics, with focuses on sex chromosome evolution, population genomics, and gene duplication in vertebrates such as macaque monkeys, vizcacha rats, and African clawed frogs. Some of the highlights of Dr. Evans’ work include (1) the identification of areas of genetic endemism on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, (2) the discovery and characterization of an adaptive radiation of fanged frogs on Sulawesi, and (3) exploration and synthesis of aspects of sex chromosome evolution, species diversification, and genome duplication of African clawed frogs.
Dr. Evans will be a fellow at the C·I·B in June of 2015. During this time he plans to collaborate with Dr. John Measey to explore the impact of interspecies hybridization on a threatened African clawed frog, Xenopus gilli. This frog is endemic to lowland coastal habitat in the Cape Flora Kingdom, and faces threats from a common and highly versatile species called the common platanna, Xenopus laevis. This project aims to better understand population structure within each of these species, and also how the extent of gene flow between them may have changed over the past two decades. Dr. Evans will also give a seminar on sex chromosome evolution in amphibians, and a workshop on analysis of next generation sequence data (RADseq) at the University of Stellenbosch.