Dr. Frank Fontanella

Brigham Young UniversityDr. Frank Fontanella
Postdoctorate work in
Advisor: Dr. Jack Sites
Taxonomic Focus: Fishes

Address: Department of Biology, Provo, UT 84602, USA
E-mail: fonta@byu.edu

Brigham Young University


I am interested in the geographical, historical, and ecological factors influencing the divergence and maintenance of genetic lineages, especially reptiles. My research interests are centered on a two-tier system designed to gain insight into the fundamental evolutionary processes that underlie speciation events. At the first tier, I rely heavily on phylogeographic and coalescent-based methods utilizing molecular (mtDNA and nDNA) data necessary for addressing questions about adaptive radiation, evolutionary convergence and large-scale trends in biodiversity. These methods then are combined with historical biogeography, population demography and ecological models to ascertain the factors that influence the distributions of organisms. The second tier incorporates microsatellite loci to examine geographic population structure, gene flow and hybridization to address the fundamental evolutionary processes that drive speciation.

Related Publications:

Fontanella, F.M., Feltran, N., Avila, L., Sites, J.W., and Morando, M. Early stages of divergence: phylogeography, climate modeling, and niche differentiation in the South American lizard Liolaemus petrophilus (Squamata: Tropiduridae). Evolution (in review)
Fontanella, F.M. and Siddall, M.E. 2009. Development and characterization of 14 microsatellite loci in the ringneck snake Diadophis punctatus. Conservation Genetics (DOI 10.1007/s10592-009-9917-x)
Siddall, M.E., Fontanella, F.M., Watson, S.C., Kvist, S., and Erseus, C. 2009. Convergence to Metazoan Mitochondrial Primer Targets by Bacteria: Implications for Barcoding in a Marine Environment. Systematic Biology, 58: 445-451.
Fontanella, F.M. and Siddall, M.E. 2010. Evaluating Hypotheses on the Origin and Diversification of the Ringneck Snake, Diadophis punctatus, (Colubridae: Dipsadinae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 158: 629–640.
Burbrink, F.T., Fontanella, F.M., Pyron, R.A., Guiher, T.J, and Jimenez, C. 2008. Phylogeography across a continent: The evolutionary and demographic history of the North American racer (Serpentes: Colubridae: Coluber constrictor). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 47: 274-288.
Fontanella, F.M., Feldman, C.R., Siddall, M.E., Burbrink, F.T. 2008. Phylogeography of Diadophis punctatus: Extensive lineage diversity and repeated patterns of historical demography in a trans-continental snake. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 46: 1049-1070.
Lartiguen J R., Fontanella, F.M. and Cebrian. J. 2003. Effects of ultraviolet-B radiation on the photosynthesis and palatability of Ulva lactuca. Gulf of Mexico Science. (1) 71-78.
Fontanella, F.M. and Hopkins, T.S.. 2001. Preliminary Phylogeny of Echinaster (Othilia) from the Gulf of Mexico based on Morphological Characters. Echinoderm Research 2001 (Feral and David eds.) pp 91-94.
Hopkins, T.S., Fontanella, F.M., and Ventura, C.R.R. 2001. Morphological variation within and among Echinaster (Othilia) from South America. Echinoderm Research 2001 (Feral and David eds.) pp 95-104.

Academic Background:

  • BS, University of Alabama, in Marine Science/Biology
  • MS, Department of Alabama, in Biology
  • PhD in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior, City University of New York

  • Biography:


    Lab: http://siteslab.byu.edu/People/PostDoctoralResearchAssociates.aspx