Dr. McCormack uses museum specimens and genomes to study the evolutionary history of birds, focusing especially on how both ancient landscape changes and more recent human-caused environmental changes affect birds’ distributions, appearance, and DNA.
Dr. McCormack publishes in peer-reviewed journals like Evolution, Systematic Biology, The Auk, and Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. As Director of the Moore Laboratory of Zoology and Curator of its bird collection, he is a champion of museum collections and their potential for understanding and ameliorating the biodiversity crisis. He penned an op-ed in the L.A. Times on threats to public museums and serves on the board of the National Science Collections Alliance.
His prior work co-developing new genomic markers for phylogenetics, called ultraconserved elements or UCEs, helped pave the way for using new DNA sequencing technologies in the field of systematics.
Follow him on Twitter for posts about birds, museums, and genomes.
For PDFs of papers prior to 2019 click here.
Recent Publications (undergraduates underlined)
Dr. McCormack teaches Evolutionary Biology (Bio 280) every Fall, and in Spring alternates between Avian Biology (Bio 360) and Molecular Phylogenetics (Bio 326). He occasionally teaches Museum Science (Bio 310) and Senior Seminar (i.e., Comps, Bio 490). Students interested in conducting mentored research in the Moore Lab should get in touch by e-mail.
BC Faircloth, JE McCormack, NG Crawford, MG Harvey, RT Brumfield & TC Glenn. 2012. Ultraconserved elements anchor thousands of genetic markers spanning multiple evolutionary timescales. Systematic Biology 61: 717-726.
JE McCormack, SM Hird, AJ Zellmer, BC Carstens & RT Brumfield. 2013. Applications of next-generation sequencing to phylogeography and phylogenetics. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 66: 526-538.
JE McCormack, WLE Tsai & BC Faircloth. 2016. Sequence capture of ultraconserved elements from bird museum specimens. Molecular Ecology Resources 16: 1189-1203.
JE McCormack, F Rodriguez-Gomez, WLE Tsai & BC Faircloth. 2017. Transforming museum specimens into genomic resources. In: Emerging Frontiers in Collections-based Ornithological Research: The Extended Specimen. MS Webster, editor. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.
BT Smith, JE McCormack, et al. 2014. The drivers of tropical speciation. Nature 515: 406-409.
JE McCormack, H Huang & LL Knowles. 2009. Sky islands. Pages 839-843 in Encyclopedia of Islands (Gillespie, RG and D Clague, eds.). University of California Press: Berkeley, CA
JE McCormack, BC Faircloth, NG Crawford, PA Gowaty, RT Brumfield & TC Glenn. 2012. Ultraconserved elements are novel phylogenomic markers that resolve placental mammal phylogeny when combined with species tree analysis. Genome Research 22: 746-754.
Digitization PEN: oBird: 3D Photogrammetry of Museum Specimens for Phenomics across the Avian Tree of Life (DBI 2001652) | Abstract
MRI: Launching an undergraduate-driven Genomics Center through acquisition of an Illumina MiSeq (DBI 1828738) | Abstract
CAREER: Integrating undergraduate research, citizen science, and museum genomics to explore a century of change in North American birds (DEB 1652979) | Abstract
RUI: CSBR: Natural History: Securing and digitizing the world’s largest Mexican bird collection (DBI 1349179) | Abstract
RUI: Collaborative Proposal: Genomic approaches to comparative phylogeography in a biodiversity hotspot (DEB 1258205) | Abstract
EAGER: RUI: The genomic architecture of speciation in an avian hybrid zone (DEB 1244739) | Abstract