Kaiya in the collections at AMNH

Bioacoustics of North American Birds

Currently as a postdoc at the Ohio State University I am working on a big-data bioacoustics project. Here I am using convolutional neural network approaches to compare and contrast the songs and calls of North American bird species, both within and between taxa. We hope to determine the relationship between phylogeographic patterning, environmental adaptation, and acoustic communication at the community scale. You can find the preprint here!

Current framework for machine learning of bioacoustic information

Comparative Phylogeography of Southwestern Desert Birds

My dissertation research focuses on 10 species of desert birds distributed across the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. Using whole-genome sequencing, I am discovering the phylogeographic histories of these taxa and comparing them. I am also looking into the genomes themselves to find areas under selection, or areas that are part of genomic islands of speciation. You can find the preprint here!

Chromosomal Clines of Genetic Relatedness across Space in 10 Desert Species

Machine Learning, Evolutionary Simulations, and Phylogeographic Synthesis

Biogeography, 13 April 2021

The first chapter of my dissertation, "Community phylogeographic patterns reveals how a barrier filters and structures taxa in North American warm deserts", has been published in the Journal of Biogeography. Here, my colleagues and I performed a phylogeographic synthesis of plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates that are found in both the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts. We used a machine learning and simulation approach to examine how robust these results are across different evolutionary histories. You can find the the paper here!

Age and Locomotion of North American desert organisms

Northern Cardinal Songs and Genetics

Ecology and Evolution, 11 December 2018
Phylogeography of Study

Our new paper, "Genomic divergence in allopatric Northern Cardinals of the North American warm deserts is linked to behavioral differentiation", has come out in Ecology and Evolution. In this paper, we sequenced ddRAD loci of birds across the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts, discovering that there are two distinct groups of Cardinals. in the region. We also performed playback experiments, looking at how male birds responded to songs from all over the deserts, and found that they did not respond at all to songs from across the barrier between the deserts. You can find the paper here!

Parrot Phylogeny

The Emu, 1 November 2017
Parrot phylogeny

I'm pleased to present my first publication, "Resolving a phylogenetic hypothesis for parrots: implications from systematics to conservation". Here, we built a new phylogenetic tree of the parrots and relatives (Order: Psittaciformes), determined how these species are distributed over space, and examined crucial sampling gaps needed to assess how this group speciated. You can find the paper here!