Lucinda Lawson

Lucinda P Lawson

Professional Summary

My research focuses on the relationship between species and their environment. Species do not exist nor evolve in a vacuum. Thus both the climate and geological landscape in which they exist as well as the other species which they encounter have shaped their past and their present, and will shape their future in our rapidly changing world. I model these dynamics both to study the past (evolutionary processes) and to predict the future (conservation biology). I primarily work on tropical, terrestrial, vertebrates including African amphibians and Galapagos finches. Majors areas of reseach are: landscape genetics/genomics, conservation genetics and evaluations of extinction potential, functional genomics, evolutionary processes, speciation dynamics, hybrid admixure and contact zones.

I teach in the introductory Environmental Science course series (EVST 1012) where we tackle the environmental challenges of our times.


Ph.D.: University of Chicago Chicago, IL, 2010 (Committee on Evolutionary Biology)

M.A.: University of Chicago Chicago, IL, 2006 (Committee on Evolutionary Biology)

B.A.: Macalester College St. Paul, MN, 2002 (Biology: emphasis in developmental and molecular genetics)

Research and Practice Interests

My research falls in the intersection of Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation, focusing on understanding how biotic and abiotic landscape and environmental features shape ecology, evolution, and persistance in terrestrial ecosystems. This area of study is particularly important as anthropogenic forces such as fragmentation, habitat loss, and climate change increasingly impact ecosystems around the world. My work is highly interdisciplinary and combines population genetics, conservation genetics, functional genomics, spatial analyses (GIS), climate and habitat modeling, biodiversity studies, fieldwork, and working with NGO to implement science-driven conservation practices.

My Primary Research themes are: 1) Fragmentation, Climate Change, and Landscape Genetics, 2) Biodiversity and Community Studies, 3) Conservation Genomics and Ancient DNA, and 4) Speciation Mechanisms and Reinforcement.

Research Support

Grant: #9827-15 Investigators:Lawson, Lucinda 11-10-2016 -11-09-2017 National Geographic Society Conservation of Mountain Apex Grasslands and associated ecotones: Biological surveys of overlooked but critical habiitats of Udzungwa and Uluguru Mountains Role:PI $19,820.00 Awarded Level:Private Non-Profit

Grant: #DEB-2020886 Investigators:Lawson, Lucinda; Rollmann, Stephanie 08-15-2020 -07-31-2023 National Science Foundation Collaborative Research: Investigating how evolution of mate recognition traits drives speciation within an anuran ring species Role:PI $200,000.00 Awarded Level:Federal

Grant: #CB5825-897877 / DEB-2114466 Investigators:Lawson, Lucinda 10-01-2021 -09-30-2026 National Science Foundation RCN: Feedbacks between geological, climatological, and biological dynamics associated with the formation of the Galapagos Islands: The Island Systems Integration Consortium (ISIC) Role:PI 26231.00 Awarded Level:Federal


Peer Reviewed Publications

Conradie W, L Verburgt, DM Portik, A Ohler, BA Bwong, LP Lawson (2018. ) A new Reed Frog (Hyperoliidae: Hyperolius) from coastal northeastern Mozambique .Zootaxa, , 4379 (2 ) ,177–198

Farrington HL, LP Lawson, KP Petren (2018. ) Predicting population extinctions in Darwin’s Finches .Conservation Genetics, , in press ,

Lawson LP, HC Liedtke, M Menegon, SP Loader (2018. ) Reproductive characteristics of two Hyperoliidae species (Afrixalus septentrionalis -Schiøtz 1974, and Hyperolius v. ngorongoriensis – Schiøtz 1975) from a miombo seasonal wetland in Northern Tanzania. Herpetology Notes, , in press ,

Zimkus BM, LP Lawson, MF Barej, CD Barratt, A Channing, KM Dash, JM Dehling, L Du Preez, PS Gehring, E Greenbaum, V Gvoždík, J Harvey, J Kielgast, C Kusamba, ZT Nagy, M Pabijan, J Penner, MO Rödel, M Vences, S Lötters (2017. ) Leapfrogging into new territory: How Mascarene ridged frogs diversified across Africa and Madagascar to maintain their ecological niche.Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, , 106 ,254-269 More Information

Lawson LP, B Fessl, FH Vargas, HL Farrington, HF Cunningham, JC Mueller, E Nemeth, PC Sevilla, K Petren (2017. ) Slow motion extinction: inbreeding, introgression, and loss in the critically endangered mangrove finch (Camarhynchus heliobates).Conservation Genetics, , 18 (1 ) ,159-170 More Information

Barratt CD, GB Bittencourt-Silva, LP Lawson, N Doggart, T Morgan-Brown, SP Loader (2017. ) A new critically endangered species of spiny throated reed frog (Anura: Hyperoliidae) from a highly threatened coastal forest reserve in Tanzania. The Herpetological Journal, , 27 ,13-24

Bittencourt-Silva GB, LP Lawson, K Tolley, DM Portik, CD Barratt, P Nagel, SP Loader (2017. ) Impact of species delimitation and sampling on niche models and phylogeographical inference: a case study of the East African reed frog Hyperolius substriatus Ahl 1931.Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, , 114 ,261–270 More Information

Lawson LP and K Petren (2017. ) The adaptive genomic landscape of beak morphology in Darwin’s finches.Molecular Ecology, , 26 ,4978-4989 More Information

Lawson LP, SP Loader, M Menegon, J Bates. (2015. ) Divergence at the edges: Peripatric isolation in the montane Spiny-Throated Reed Frog complex .BMC Evolutionary Biology , , 15 ,128

Loader SP, LP Lawson, D Portik, M Menegon (2015. ) Species descriptions of three Hyperolius species in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania .BMC Research Notes, , 8 ,167

Farrington HL*, Lawson LP*, C Clark, K Petren (* co-first authors) (2014. ) The evolutionary history of Darwin’s finches: speciation, gene flow, and introgression in a fragmented landscape .Evolution, , 68 (10 ) ,2932

Lawson LP, C Vernesi, S Ricci, F Rovero (2013. ) Evolutionary history of the grey-faced sengi, Rhynchocyon udzungwensis, from Tanzania: a molecular and species distribution modelling approach .PLoS ONE, , 8 (8 ) ,e72506

Lawson LP (2013. ) Diversification in a biodiversity hotspot: landscape correlates of phylogeographic patterns in the African spotted reed frog .Molecular Ecology, , 22 (7 ) ,1947

Lawson LP, RK Vander Meer, DD Shoemaker (2012. ) Male reproductive fitness and queen polyandry are linked to variation in the supergene Gp-9 in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta .Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, , 279 ,3217

Zimkus BM, LP Lawson, SP Loader, J Hanken (2012. ) Terrestrialization, miniaturization and rates of diversification in sub-Saharan frogs (Anura: Phrynobatrachidae) .PLoS ONE, , 7 (4 ) ,1

Lawson LP and BM Zimkus (2011. ) Range extension of Phrynobatrachus sulfureogularis (Anura, Phrynobatrachidae) from Burudi to the Mahale Mountains of Western Tanzania with a redescription of the species .Fieldiana: Life and Earth Sciences, , 4 ,112

Lawson LP and L Collett (2011. ) Results from Two Amphibian Surveys of Malundwe Mountain, Mikumi National Park .Fieldiana: Life and Earth Sciences, , 4 ,74

Loader SP, J Poynton, LP Lawson, DC Blackburn, M Menegon (2011. ) Amphibian diversity in the Northwestern Eastern Arc Mountains, with the description of a new species of Arthroleptis (Anura: Arthroleptidae) .Fieldiana: Life and Earth Sciences, , 4 ,90

Lawson LP (2010. ) The discordance of diversification: Evolution in the tropical-montane frogs of the Eastern Arc Mountain of Tanzania. Molecular Ecology, , 19 ,4046

Lawson LP and D Moyer (2008. ) Within-site distribution of frog species on the Udzungwa Plateau, Tanzania .African Journal of Herpetology, , 57 ,93

Alexandrino J, SJE Baird, LP Lawson, JR Macey, C Moritz, DB Wake (2005. ) Strong selection against hybrids at a hybrid zone in the Ensatina ring species complex and its evolutionary implications .Evolution, , 59 ,1334


Invited Presentations

Lucinda P Lawson (2017. ) Diversification through fragmented landscapes: how space, time, environment, and interactions shape evolution .Boise State University, Boise, ID.

Lucinda P Lawson (2016. ) Evolution in Fragmented Systems: Selection, Drift, and Change .Macalester College, St. Paul, MN.

Lucinda P Lawson (2015. ) Diversification of montane frogs throughout the East African Highlands .University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Lucinda P Lawson (2015. ) How Populations Evolve: Genetic drift, mutation, gene flow, and natural selection in the Galapagos Finches .Indiana University Northwest, Gary, IN.

Lucinda P Lawson (2015. ) The Genomic Architecture of Adaptive Quantitative Trait Variation in Darwin’s Finches .AAAS_PD invited symposium speaker, San Francisco.

Lucinda P Lawson (2015. ) Islands! Fragmentation, Isolation, and Biodiversity .Cincinnati Natural History Museum, Cincinnati, OH.

Lucinda P Lawson (2014. ) Diversification through fragmented landscapes: How space, time, environment, and interactions shape evolution .University of Cincinnati.

Lawson LP (2011. ) Diversification amongst the South American fire ants: how, when, and why species barriers break down .Wright State University, Dayton, OH.

Lawson LP (2010. ) Patterns and processes of diversification in Hyperolius frogs throughout the Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot .Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC.

Lawson LP (2010. ) Population diversification of montane amphibians .University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK.

Lucinda P Lawson (2018. ) Evolution in situ: linking organisms to their biotic and abiotic landscapes to study adaptation, divergence, interactions, and persistence .Idaho State University, Moscow Idaho. Level:National

Post Graduate Training and Education

2012Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Cincinnati, , Cincinnati, OH

2010-2012 Bioinformatics Postdoctoral Research Associate, USDA-ARS, , Gainesville, FL