Gery Allan


Professor, Director of EnGGen Laboratory
Phone: 928-523-8934
Office: Bldg. 21, room 107

More info: 
Environmental Genetics and Genomics Laboratory, EnGGen
CV is available here

Research/teaching interests

  • molecular systematics and ecology
  • phylogenetics

Academic highlights

  • Post-doctoral: Laboratory of Molecular Systematics, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 1998-2000
  • PhD: Claremont Graduate School, 1998
  • MA: Claremont Graduate School, 1994
  • BA: California State University, Long Beach, 1991

My research addresses questions relating to the ecology, biogeography and evolutionary history of plants.

These questions range from asking:

  1. how plants evolve specific ecological adaptations in particular environments;
  2. how they achieve geographically disjunct distributions and;
  3. how evolutionary history has influenced processes associated with plant divergence and speciation. 

To answer these questions I use an array of molecular techniques including DNA sequencing, SNP genotyping, fluorescence-based AFLP marker analysis and genomic studies.

My current focus is on the ecology and evolution of Cottonwood and Aspen (Populus) trees. Cottonwood and Aspen are dominant plants of riparian (river) and high elevation environments, respectively.

The former frequently hybridize along river drainages forming extensive hybrid zones. These hybrid zones provide unique opportunities for investigating such things as the link between plant genetic diversity and biodiversity; the impact hybrid zone structure has on determining the biogeography of dependent animal species and; the mechanisms associated with speciation via reproductive isolation.

Aspen are particularly interesting from a biogeographic perspective, having the largest distribution of any deciduous tree in North America and in their ability to form extensive clones, which form critical habitat for many animal species.

A related key interest is the application of molecular methods to the conservation and restoration of Cottonwood and Aspen habitat as important centers of biodiversity and renewable natural resources.

Selected publications

Allan, G. J., J. Francisco-Ortega, A.Santos-Guerra, E. Boerner and E. A. Zimmer. 2004. Molecular phylogeneticevidence for the geographic origin and classification of Canary Island Lotus(Fabaceae: Loteae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. MolecularPhylogenetics and Evolution, 32: 123-138. 

Bangert, R.K. G.J. Allan R. J. Turek, G.M. Wimp, N. Meneses, G. D.    Martinsen,P. Keim and T. G. Whitham.  2006.  From genes to geography: a genetic similarityrule for arthropod community structure at multiple   geographic scales.  Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2006.03092. 

Allan, G. J., C. E. C. Gemmill, W. L.Wagner and E. A. Zimmer. 2002. Evolution of Insular Pacific Pittosporum(Pittosporaceae): Origin of the Hawaiian Radiation. Molecular Phylogenetics andEvolution 22: No. 1, pp 31-42. 

Whitham, T. G., J. K. Bailey, J. A.Schweitzer, S. M. Shuster, R. K. Bangert, C. J.   Leroy, E. V. Lonsdorf, G. J. Allan, S. P.DiFazio, B. M. Potts, D. G.    Fischer,C. A. Gehring, R. L. Lindroth, J. C. Marks, S. C. Hart, G. M.    Wimp, and S. C. Wooley.  2006. A framework for community and   ecosystem genetics: from genes to ecosystems.  Nature Reviews: Genetics,  2007: 510-523. 

R. K. Bangert, R. J. Turek, B. Rehill, G.M. Wimp, J. A. Schweitzer, G. J. Allan, J. K. Bailey, G. D. Martinsen, P. Keim,R. L. Lindroth, and T. G. Whitham. 2006.  A genetic similarity ruledetermines arthropod community structure. Molecular Ecology 15, 1379–1391: invited special  issue on functional and genomic approaches inmolecular ecology. 

Allan, G. J., C. Clark and L. Rieseberg. 1997.Distribution of parental DNA markers in Encelia virginensis (Asteraceae: Heliantheae),a diploid species of putative hybrid origin. Plant Systematics and Evolution,205: 205-221.