Pruett, Christin

Assistant Professor
Biological Sciences

Educational Background

B.S. Southwest Baptist University 1991
M.S. Texas A&M University-Kingsville 1998
Ph.D. University of Alaska Fairbanks 2002

Current Courses

BIO 1020 - Biological Discovery 2

BIO 3410 - General Ecology

BIO 2935/5020 - Field Biology & Ecology - Smoky Mountains

BIO 4410/5031 - Conservation Genetics

BIO 4412/5011 - Ornithology

Professional Experience

Assistant Professor, Florida Institute of Technology
Research Associate, University of Alaska Museum
Postdoc, Sutton Research Center, Univ. Oklahoma
Postdoc, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Postdoc, Texas A&M University

Current Research

I have three primary areas of research:
1. Song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) as a model in evolutionary ecology and conservation biology. Song sparrows are one of the most geographically variable birds in North America with numerous subspecies described. Birds found along the coast of Alaska show amazing variability in body size and populations in the western US show a ring-like pattern of subspecies. I am working with researchers at the University of Oklahoma, University of Georgia, and University of Alaska Museum studying the genetics and ecology of song sparrows.

2. The effects of glaciations on high-latitude biodiversity. There is a surprising amount of intraspecific variation in birds found in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and the neighboring Commander Islands of Russia. I am working with collaborators in Russia and Alaska examining the population genetics of landbirds (rock ptarmigan, rock sandpiper, Pacific wren, common raven) found throughout these islands. We have found signals in the genetic data that support the existence of glacial refugia in these areas.

3. How habitat fragmentation affects endangered and threatened species. I have ongoing projects examining the conservation genetics of the federally threatened Florida scrub-jay and southeastern beach mouse on Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and the federally endangered scrub lupine in central Florida. In each of these projects, I use landscape genetics approaches (combining population genetics and GIS) to assess extinction risk through estimation of effective population size, gene flow, and genetic diversity. I have active collaborations with researchers affiliated with KSC and Bok Tower Gardens.

Selected Publications

Pruett, C. L., C. M. Topp, J. M. Maley, K. G. McCracken, S. Rohwer, S. Birks, S. G. Sealy, and K. Winker. 2013. Evidence from the genetics of landbirds for a forested glacial refugium in the Haida Gwaii area. Condor, in press.

Pruett, C. L., C. Whelan*, A. Ricono*, S. L. Lance, T. Glenn, B. Faircloth, and K. Winker. 2013. Development and characterization of microsatellite loci for two species of Beringian birds, rock sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis) and Pacific wren (Troglodytes pacificus). Conservation Genetics Resources DOI 10.1007/s12686-013-0040-4

Larsson, L. C., C. L. Pruett, D. H. Wolfe, and M. A. Patten. 2013. Fine-scale habitat selection by the Lesser Prairie-Chicken. Southwestern Naturalist 58: 135-149.

Peters, J., K. McCracken, C. Pruett, S. Rohwer, S. Drovetski, Y. Zhuravlev, I. Kulikova, D. D. Gibson, and K. Winker. 2012. A parapatric propensity for breeding precludes the completion of speciation in common teal (Anas crecca, sensu lato). Molecular Ecology 21: 4563-4577.

Ho, A., C. Pruett, and J. Lin. 2012. Population genetic structure, coloration, and morphometrics of yellowhead jawfish, Opistognathus aurifrons (Perciformes: Opistognathidae) in the Caribbean. Marine Ecology Progress Series 444: 275-287.

Pruett, C. L., J. A. Johnson, L. C. Larsson, D. H. Wolfe, and M. A. Patten. 2011. Low effective population size and survivorship in a grassland grouse. Conservation Genetics 12: 1205-1214.

Pruett, C. L., S. M. Tanksley, M. F. Small, J. F. Taylor, and M. R. J. Forstner. 2011. The effects of range expansion on the population genetics of white-winged doves in Texas. American Midland Naturalist 166: 415-425.

Pruett, C. L., T. N. Turner*, C. M. Topp, S. V. Zagrebelny, and K. Winker. 2010. Divergence in an archipelago and its conservation consequences in Aleutian Island rock ptarmigan. Conservation Genetics 11:241-248.

Pruett, C. L., M. A. Patten, and D. H. Wolfe. 2009. Avoidance behavior by prairie grouse: implications for wind energy development. Conservation Biology 23:1253-1259.

Pruett, C. L., M. A. Patten, and D. H. Wolfe. 2009. Its not easy being green: Wind energy and a declining grassland bird. BioScience 59:257-262.

Patten, M. A., and C. L. Pruett. 2009. The Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia, as a ring species: patterns of geographic variation, a revision of subspecies, and implications for speciation. Systematics and Biodiversity 7:33-62

Pruett, C. L., P. Arcese, Y. Chan, A. Wilson, M. A. Patten, L. F. Keller, and K. Winker. 2008. The effects of contemporary processes in maintaining the genetic structure of western song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). Heredity 101: 67-84.

Pruett, C. L., P. Arcese, Y. Chan, A. Wilson, M. A. Patten, L. F. Keller, and K. Winker. 2008. Concordant and discordant signals between genetic data and described subspecies of Pacific coast song sparrows. Condor 110:359-364.

Pruett, C. L., and K. Winker. 2008. The effects of sample size on population genetic diversity estimates in song sparrows. Journal of Avian Biology 39:252-256.

Pruett, C. L. and K. Winker. 2008. Evidence for cryptic northern refugia among high- and temperate-latitude species in Beringia A response to Stewart and Dalen (2008). Climatic Change 38: 23-27.

Pruett, C. L., and K. Winker. 2005. Northwestern song sparrow populations show genetic effects of sequential colonization. Molecular Ecology 14: 1421-1434.

Pruett, C. L., and K. Winker. 2005. Biological impacts of climatic change on a Beringian endemic: Cryptic refugia in the establishment and differentiation of the rock sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis). Climatic Change 68: 219-240.

*undergraduate student at Florida Tech.