Layla Freeborn | PhD student


My work in the R-Z lab focuses on the evolution of phenotypic variation in the strawberry poison frog, Oophaga pumilio, from Central America. By integrating novel descriptions of pigmentation in pumilio with molecular data derived from next generation sequencing (NGS), my dissertation seeks to provide a mechanistic understanding of the highly polymorphic coloration that characterizes this species. To this end, I’m exploring the genetic basis of coloration in pumilio, how the arrangement of pigment cells in the dermis contribute to differences in coloration among morphs, and the role of convergent evolution in producing the color diversity that we see today. Although amphibians are the focus of my current research, I’m broadly interested in how genomics and NGS can be applied to questions in ecology and evolution.

When I’m not busy science-ing, I can be found hiking & skiing (depending on the season), reading (preferred genre: SF), and brunching (mostly with friends, but sometimes with my dog).