Biological & Geological Sciences 2036
Biological & Geological Sciences 2037
Lachance studies the evolution, biogeography, biodiversity, and systematics of ascomycetous yeasts. Long-term objectives have been to document yeast biodiversity in natural habitats at the interface of insects and plants, the process of species formation in nature, and the underlying causes of the global distribution of yeasts. The habitats have included floricolous insects, particularly Coleoptera.
One focal point is a group of large-spored Metschnikowia species associated with nitidulid beetles that visit flowers of Convolvulacae and other plants that produce short-lived flowers. The biogeography of these yeasts, their mechanisms of reproductive isolation, and the reconstruction of speciation events have been examined in populations whose distribution ranges across the New World and the Australian-Pacific region. Currently these yeasts are being studied at the level of the whole genome. This has allowed us to construct a robust phylogeny and to study the genetic basis for reproductive isolation and other phenomena.