There are two, related research themes in our group. The first is avian genomics – specifically how bird species are formed, and the nature of genomic introgession among hybridizing taxa. Recent projects have accomplished this using reduced-representation genome datasets (ddRAD), and ultraconserved elements (UCE) datasets, but all new projects focus on whole-genome resequencing, which provides significant power and opportunities (but also some computational challenges)!
We also study the ecology of emerging infectious disease. This interest arose from the fact that birds often move pathogens around landscapes. However, now our work in this field is broader, focusing on how we can leverage DNA sequencing technology and our expertise as field biologists to understand how pathogens (usually arboviruses) are distributed in space and time, especially in the tropics.
Central to everything that we do is that are museum scientists: we blend specimen-based approaches with cutting-edge tools that have emerged during the “Age of DNA”. Our work is focused on Neotropical ecosystems and the southern Great Plains.
Matthew Miller is the Curator of the Ornithology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. Our group has an academic home in the University of Oklahoma’s Department of Biology.