Antonio R Castilla

Antonio Castilla

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

Research Associate

MSU Natural Resource Building, rm 13




My research program focuses on the genetic and ecological processes enabling plant populations to cope with global change. I am particularly interested in the evolutionary forces shaping genetic and phenotypic variability in plant populations. Two evolutionary forces set the foundations of my research program, gene flow, and local adaptation to biotic interactions. Gene flow as an evolutionary force that promotes genetic variability in plants. Local adaptation to biotic factors as a driver of evolutionary change in plant populations. I approach my questions using the framework of molecular ecology. Within this field, I work at the interface of population genetics, plant ecology, and evolutionary ecology. In my research, I use a multidisciplinary approach combining genetic analysis, field experimentation, GIS tools, and spatially explicit analysis.

In my current position at Michigan State University, I am working with Dr. John Robinson (MSU), Dr. Andria Dawson (Mt. Royal University), Dr. Sean Hoban (Morton Arboretum), Dr. Adam Smith (Missouri Botanical Garden), and Dr. Allan Strand (College of Charleston) on the NSF project “Collaborative Research: ABI Innovation: Quantifying biogeographic history: a novel model-based approach to integrating data from genes, fossils, specimens, and environments”. In this project, we are developing an integrative modeling approach based on Approximate Bayesian Computation able to integrate fossil pollen data, occurrence data, and ecological niche models, and population genetic data to infer demographic parameters, the location of glacial refugia, and the pace of post-glacial range movement of tree species.