Associate Professor Daniel Ortiz-Barrientos

Assoc Prof & Princ Res Fellow (ARC)

School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science
d.ortizbarrientos@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 51767

Overview

In The Ortiz-Barrientos Lab we seek to understand the genetic and ecological basis of the origin of new species and traits. We combine empirical and theoretical approaches from multiple disciplines.

We are located in beautiful Brisbane, Australia, in the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Queensland.

Please explore our pages to learn about research, culture, and the team of scientists that bring their passion and creativity to discovering how nature works.

Research Interests

  • The genetic basis of speciation
    As populations adapt to new environmental challenges, they may become reproductively isolated from other populations. The genetic changes associated with the evolution of reproductive isolation remain largely unknown. Therefore we have a limited understanding of how ecology and genetics interact during the origin of new species. In the Ortiz-Barrientos lab, we tackle this problem by studying the early stages of speciation in the S. lautus species complex (sensu lato).
  • The genetics basis of adaptation
    Our lab uses various tools to identify genes responsible for ecotypic differences and traits responsible for fitness differences in the wild. We investigate the adaptive significance of genetic correlations during ecotypic divergence and the relative contributions of additive vs. non-additive effects to fitness variation.
  • The genetic basis of parallel evolution
    Populations experiencing similar selective pressures may evolve similar traits. As they adapt to similar environments, populations may fix similar alleles, or they might reach a phenotypic solution via different biochemical and genetic routes. Our lab investigates how coastal populations of S. lautus have repeatedly and independently adapted to contrasting habitats along the Australian coast.
  • Evolutionary systems biology in biodiversity and agriculture
    We can study organisms at the cellular level, during growth and differentiation, and during reproduction. We aim to connect these processes to the transmission of genetic information across generations by incorporating concepts and tools from systems biology into population genetics.

Research Impacts

Our research informs how plants come about and how they adapt to harsh conditions. As we seek to discover rules for adaptation, we hope this knowledge will guide research in agriculture and conservation biology. We currently collaborate with an amazing suite of researchers to figure out how plant systems work. Together we aim to discover better ways to produce healthy and productive crops that increase food security.

Qualifications

  • PhD, Louisiana State University
  • Bachelor of Science, Universidad de Antioquia

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Project available to start in 2023

    This project seeks to understand mathematically, via computational experiments, the genetic connexion between polygenic evolution and speciation. The theory of how genetic correlations between adaptation and speciation arise remains a fundamental problem in evolutionary biology. As a student, you will have ample room to explore this connexion and have access to empirical data discovering the mechanisms underlying this genetic correlation. In this project, you will also explore how systems biology can inform the origins of hybrid sterility and inviability and its relation to adaptive traits modulated by complex genetic networks.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Arenas-Castro, Henry, Brittain, Beth, Matute, Daniel R. and Ortiz-Barrientos, Daniel (2019). Reinforcement. Evolutionary biology. edited by Douglas J. Futuyma. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/obo/9780199941728-0120

  • Ortiz-Barrientos, Daniel (2016). Species concepts and speciation. Encyclopedia of evolutionary biology. (pp. 216-227) edited by Richard M. Kliman. Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800049-6.00061-5

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Project available to start in 2023

    This project seeks to understand mathematically, via computational experiments, the genetic connexion between polygenic evolution and speciation. The theory of how genetic correlations between adaptation and speciation arise remains a fundamental problem in evolutionary biology. As a student, you will have ample room to explore this connexion and have access to empirical data discovering the mechanisms underlying this genetic correlation. In this project, you will also explore how systems biology can inform the origins of hybrid sterility and inviability and its relation to adaptive traits modulated by complex genetic networks.