Department of Ecology & Evolution

Welcome to the Kronforst lab at the University of Chicago's Department of Ecology & Evolution. We study the evolution and genetics of adaptation and speciation, using butterflies as our primary model system.

Natural biological systems are exceptionally diverse in terms of species richness, phenotypic form and function, and ecological interactions. Our research seeks to explain the origin and maintenance of this diversity across multiple levels of organization, from individual nucleotides to entire communities. As a tool to understanding the dynamics of biological diversity, much of our work focuses on adaptive phenotypic diversification and speciation in tropical butterflies, such as the genus Heliconius.

butterfiesPlease see our new paper in PNAS, and associated press, about genetically modifying butterflies to reveal the role of WntA in wing patterning.


butterflyPlease see our new paper in Genome Biology about genome-wide introgression among distantly related Heliconius butterfly species, and the associated Research Highlight.

Hyde Park Hunting
See how we're using a local butterfly to address fundamental questions in ecology and evolution. Video

Evolution's Continuing Creativity
Researchers glimpse speciation in action: One species of butterfly that may soon diverge into two. Video

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