Dr. Michael Barker

Assistant Professor
Positions and Education: 
  • Assistant Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 2011- present
  • NSERC-BRITE Biodiversity Postdoctoral Fellow, The Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 2009 – 2010
  • Ph.D., Evolutionary Biology, Indiana University, 2009
  • M.S., Botany, Miami University, 2003
  • B.S. cum laude, Biology, Denison University, 2001
Honors and Awards: 
  • Young International Scientist Fellow, Chinese Academy of Sciences, South China Botanical Garden, Guangzhou, 2010
  • NSERC-BRITE Biodiversity Postdoctoral Fellow, The Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 2009 – 2010
  • Margaret Menzel Award, Genetics Section, Botanical Society of America, 2008
  • NIH Training Grant: Genetics, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Indiana University 2004 – 2006
  • NSF IGERT Fellow: Evolution, Development, and Genomics, Indiana University 2004
  • Edgar T. Wherry Award, Pteridological Section, Botanical Society of America, 2003
  • Heimsch Award, Miami University, 2003
Research Interests: 

Michael Barker is an evolutionary biologist studying the origins of biological diversity, particularly how abrupt genomic changes such as polyploidy, chromosomal change, and hybridization have contributed to the evolution of plant diversity. Biologists have long been fascinated by these processes because they create unique opportunities for the evolution of ecological and phenotypic novelty with the potential for relatively rapid speciation. Although assessing the importance of these abrupt changes has historically been a difficult task, advances in genomics and bioinformatics have created new opportunities for addressing these longstanding questions. By integrating new computational and evolutionary genomic tools with traditional approaches such as molecular evolution, phylogenetics, mathematical modeling, and experimental work Barker's lab currently studies 1.) the contributions of recent and ancient polyploidy to eukaryotic diversity; 2.) the evolution of chromosome number and genome organization; and 3.) the impact of hybridization on speciation and novelty.

Selected Publications: 
  1. Barker, M. S., K. M. Dlugosch, L. Dinh, R. S. Challa, N. C. Kane, M. G. King, and L. H. Rieseberg. 2010. EvoPipes.net: Bioinformatic tools for ecological and evolutionary genomics. Evolutionary Bioinformatics 6: 143-149.

  2. Shi, T., H. Huang, and M. S. Barker. 2010. Ancient genome duplications during the evolution of kiwifruit (Actinidia) and related Ericales. Annals of Botany 106: 497-504.

  3. Barker, M. S. and P. G. Wolf. 2010. Unfurling fern biology in the genomics age. BioScience 60(3): 177-185.

  4. Mayrose, I., M. S. Barker, and S. P. Otto. 2010. Probabilistic models of chromosome number evolution and the inference of polyploidy. Systematic Biology 59(2): 132-144.

  5. Barker, M. S., H. Vogel, and M. E. Schranz. 2009. Paleopolyploidy in the Brassicales: Analyses of the Cleome transcriptome elucidate the history of genome duplications in Arabidopsis and other Brassicales. Genome Biology and Evolution 1(1): 391-399.

  6. Wood, T. E., N. Takebayashi, M. S. Barker, I. Mayrose, P. B. Greenspoon, and L. H. Rieseberg. 2009. The frequency of polyploid speciation in vascular plants. PNAS 106(33): 13875-13879.

  7. Barker, M. S.*, K. M. Dlugosch*, A. C. C. Reddy, S. N. Amyotte, and L. H. Rieseberg. 2009. SCARF: Maximizing next-generation EST assemblies for evolutionary and population genomic analyses. Bioinformatics 25(4): 535-536.

  8. Barker, M. S., N. C. Kane, M. Matvienko, A. Kozik, R. W. Michelmore, S. J. Knapp, and L. H. Rieseberg. 2008. Multiple paleopolyploidizations during the evolution of the Compositae reveal parallel patterns of duplicate gene retention after millions of years. Molecular Biology and Evolution 25(11): 2445-2455.

  9. Brandvain, Y.*, M. S. Barker*, and M. J. Wade. 2007. Gene co-inheritance and gene transfer. Science 315: 1685.

    *Co-first authors


Contact Information

Lab Phone: 
(520) 626-0946
Office Phone: 
(520) 621-2213
Office Location: 
Lab Location: