Michael Barker

Associate Professor

Office Location: BSW 321E
Lab Location: BSW 321


Positions and Education: 

  • Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 2018 - present
  • Director, Bioinformatics Degree Program, University of Arizona, 2014 - present
  • Assistant Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 2011 - 2018
  • 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: 

  • Emerging Leader Award, Botanical Society of America, 2016
  • 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
  • Edgar T. Wherry Award, Pteridological Section, Botanical Society of America, 2003
  • Heimsch Award, Miami University, 2003

Editorial Work: 

  • Editor, American Journal of Botany Special Issue on "The Evolutionary Importance of Polyploidy"

Research Interests: 

I am interested in the origins of biological diversity, particularly how abrupt genomic events such as polyploidy, chromosomal change, and hybridization have contributed to the evolution and diversity of life. My research program integrates new computational and evolutionary genomic tools with traditional approaches such as molecular evolution, population genetics, phylogenetics, and experimental work to better understand how changes in genome organization impact biological diversity. My lab uses a combination of publicly available genomic data and new data generated by ourselves and collaborators from a diverse set of study systems.

These include crops in the genus Brassica, local resurrection lycophytes in Selaginella, and macroevolutionary analyses using data from across the eukaryotes. Our ultimate goal is to connect patterns of genome evolution across time scales by leveraging systems where we can study microevolutionary processes to inform our understanding of macroevolutionary patterns.

Selected Publications: 

  1. Barker, M. S., N. Arrigo, A. E. Baniaga, Z. Li, and D. A. Levin. 2016. On the relative abundance of autopolyploids and allopolyploids. New Phytologist 210: 391–398.
  2. Li, Z., A. E. Baniaga, E. B. Sessa, M. Scascitelli, S. W. Graham, L. H. Rieseberg, and M. S. Barker. 2015. Early genome duplications in conifers and other seed plants. Science Advances 1(10): e1501084.
  3. Edger, P. E., H. M. Heidel-Fischer, M. Bekaert, J. Rota, G. Glockner, A. E. Platts, D. Heckel, J. P. Der, E. K. Wafula, M. Tang, J. A. Hofberger, A. Smithson, J. C. Hall, M. Blanchette, T. E. Bureau, S. I. Wright, C. W. dePamphilis, M. E. Schranz, M. S. Barker, G. C. Conant, N. Wahlberg, H. Vogel, J. C. Pires, and C. W. Wheat. 2015. The butterfly plant arms-race escalated by gene and genome duplications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 112(27): 8362–8366.
  4. Arrigo, N. and M. S. Barker. 2012. Rarely successful polyploids and their legacy in plant genomes. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 15: 140–146.
  5. Mayrose, I., S. H. Zhan, C. J. Rothfels, K. Magnuson-Ford, M. S. Barker, L. H. Rieseberg, and S. P. Otto. 2011. Recently-formed polyploid plants diversify at lower rates. Science 333: 1257.