Senior Scientist Group

Computational Population Biology

The interactions between species and their biotic and abiotic environments produce effects across a broad range of taxonomic and spatial scales, ranging from the distribution of individuals within a population to speciation and global patterns of biological diversity.  While experimental and observational approaches have improved our understanding of these processes, significant gaps still exist in our understanding of how these interactions shape species distributions, and how these effects change with taxonomic and geographic scale.

Our research primarily focuses on developing new informatics approaches to answer large-scale questions in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology.  We demonstrate the application of these new methods in applied conservation studies and in the pursuit of a deeper understanding of the forces underlying species diversity and distributions.  In the course of this pursuit we develop and disseminate software tools (primarily R packages) that are used by scientists worldwide in both basic and applied biological research. Our overarching goal is to develop new avenues for exploiting the rapidly expanding pool of publicly available molecular, morphological, and environmental data to answer the following questions:

(1) How do biotic and abiotic factors shape global patterns of biodiversity?
(2) How labile is the niche?
(3) How do biotic and abiotic factors shape the evolution of the niche?
(4) How do biotic and abiotic factors shape the composition of communities?
(5) How will climate change impact the distribution of suitable habitat for threatened and endangered species?

Selected publications

Warren, D.L., Beaumont, R. Dinnage, and Baumgartner. J. (2018): New methods for measuring ENM breadth and overlap in environmental space.  Ecography.

Iglesias, T. L., Dornburg, A., Warren, D. L., Wainwright, P. C., Schmitz, L., & Economo, E. P. (2018): Eyes Wide Shut: the impact of dim‐light vision on neural investment in marine teleosts. Journal of evolutionary biology, doi: 10.1111/jeb.13299

d’Errico, F., Banks, W.E., Warren, D.L., van Niekerk, K., Henshilwood, C. , Scubin, G., Daniau, A. and Goni, M.S. (2017): Identifying early modern human ecological niche expansions and associated cultural dynamics in the South African middle stone age. PNAS 114:7869-7876, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1620752114



Dr. Dan Warren
Researcher, Head of Senior Scientist Group 'Computational Population biology'

Research interests

I have broad interests in evolution, ecology, conservation, and animal behavior.  My primary research program focuses on the evolution of species’ environmental tolerances and spatial distributions, with frequent detours into conservation-oriented empirical studies.  I also maintain active research programs in phylogenetic methods and theory, as well as the neuroecology of marine fishes.  My work includes both basic and applied research, with a particular focus on developing quantitative methods.  I am an author of several popular software packages for conducting evolutionary and ecological analyses, including Converge, AWTY, ENMTools, and RWTY.  In my spare time I compose music for nature documentaries.

I teach technical courses in R on a volunteer or consulting basis for Software Carpentry, Data Carpentry, Transmitting Science, and PR Statistics.

External Links

List of publications on Google Scholar

List of publications on Researcher ID

List of publications on Scopus

Researcher profile on Orcid

Selected Publications

A. Tingstad, R.J. Lempert, M. Moskwik, D.L. Warren, C. Parmesan, L.O. Mearns, S. McGinnis, and Y. Ryu. 2017. Demonstrating the applicability of robust decision making (RDM) to conservation decision-making under uncertain future climate. Journal of Conservation Planning 13:11-24.

F. d’Errico, W.E. Banks, D.L. Warren, K. van Niekerk, C. Henshilwood, G. Scubin, A. Daniau, M.S. Goni. 2017. Identifying early modern human ecological niche expansions and associated cultural dynamics in the South African middle stone age. *PNAS *114:7869-7876.

A.D. Lamb, G.J. Watkins-Colwell, J.A. Moore, D.L. Warren, T.L. Iglesias, M.C. Brandley, and A. Dornburg. 2017. Endolymphatic sac use and reproductive activity in the Lesser Antilles endemic gecko Gonatodes antillensis (Gekkota: Spaerodactylidae). Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History 58(1):17-29.

D.L. Warren, A.J. Geneva, and R. Lanfear. 2017. RWTY (R We There Yet): An R package for examining convergence of Bayesian phylogenetic analyses. Molecular Biology and Evolution 34:1016-1020. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msw279

A. Dornburg, E.J. Forrestel, J.A. Moore, T.L. Iglesias, A. Jones, L. Rao, and D.L. Warren. 2017. An assessment of sampling biases across studies of diel activity patterns in marine ray-finned fishees (Acinopterygii). Bulletin
of Marine Science
. doi: 10.5343/bms.2016.1016

L.J. Beaumont, E. Graham, D.E. Duursma, P.D. Wilson, A. Cabrelli, J.B. Baumgartner, W. Hallgren, M. Esperón-Rodríguez, D.A. Nipperess, D.L. Warren, S.W. Laffan, and J. VanDerWal. 2016. Which species distribution
models are more (or less) likely to project broad-scale, climate-induced shifts in species ranges? Ecological Modelling 342:135-146.

R. Lanfear, X. Hua, and D.L. Warren. 2016. Estimating the effective sample size of tree topologies from Bayesian phylogenetic analyses. Genome Biology and Evolution. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evw171

A. Dornburg, C. Lippi, S. Federman, J.A. Moore, *D.L. Warren*, T.L. Iglesias, M.C. Brandley, G.C. Watkins-Colwell, A.D. Lamb, and A. Jones. 2016 *.* Disentangling the influence of urbanization and invasion on endemic reptiles in Tropical biodiversity hotspots: A case study of Phyllodactylus martini along an urban gradient in Curaçao. Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History 57:147-164.

Cardillo, M., and D.L. Warren. 2016.Analyzing patterns of spatial and niche overlap among species at multiple resolutions. Global Ecology and Biogeography 25:951-963.

Mainali, K.P., D.L. Warren, K. Dhileepan, A. McConnachie, L. Strathie, G. Hassan, D. Karki, B.B. Shrestha,  and C. Parmesan. 2015. Projecting future expansion of invasive species: Comparing and improving methodologies. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.13038

Hua, X., P. Cowman, D.L. Warren, and L Bromham. 2015. Longevity is linked to mitochondrial mutation rates in rockfish: a test using Poisson regression. Mol. Biol. Evol. Early version available online. doi:

Iglesias, T.L., A. Dornburg, M.C. Brandley, M.E. Alfaro, and D.L. Warren. 2015. Life in the unthinking depths: energetic constraints on encephalization in marine fishes.  J. Evo. Bio 28:1080-1090. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12631

Warren, D.L., M. Cardillo, D.F. Rosauer, and D.I. Bolnick. 2014. Mistaking geography for biology: inferring processes from species distributions*.*Trends in Ecology and Evolution 29 (10), 572-580. doi:

Dr. Cândida Vale
PostDoc, Member of Senior Scientist Group 'Computational Population Biology'