As a population geneticist, I aim to understand the maintenance of genetic diversity in natural populations. Genetic diversity forms the basis of heritable evolutionary change and has a major impact on the rate of adaptation and the persistence of organismal communities. To reach this goal, I address the following three fundamental questions:
- How do gene flow and natural selection interact to determine genetic diversity within and among species?
- What is the genetic architecture of traits involved in local adaptation and speciation, and what are the causes and consequences of its evolution?
- How does demography affect levels of deleterious genetic variation in populations?
The recent explosion of DNA sequence data offers novel opportunities to answer these questions, but requires appropriate models and innovative methodologies that apply to a genomic scale. Using mathematical and computational approaches, I develop and analyse such models. I design inference procedures and apply them to a range of study systems in plants and animals, including humans.