Richard E. Glor, Curator

Short Herpetological Biography

Richard E. Glor joined KU Herpetology as an Associate Curator in the Fall of 2013. Glor's interest in herpetology extends to his earliest memories. Glor received early training in herpetology in the Education Department of the Buffalo Zoo. He went on to earn his Bachelor's degree at Cornell University, where he was active in the Cornell Herpetological Society and completed an honors thesis under the direction of Profs. Kraig Adler and Thomas Eisner. Glor completed his PhD on Species Diversification in Anolis Lizards at Washington University's Department of Biology under the direction of Profs. Jonathan Losos and Alan Larson. For his postdoctoral research, Glor joined the Center for Population Biology at UC Davis, where he was based in the laboratory of H. Bradley Shaffer. Glor was then an Assistant/Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Rochester before joining KU Herpetology.

Research Interests

Anolis distichus mating along the Rio Bani in the Dominican Republic.

Glor's research investigates the origins of species diversity, primarily through studies of West Indian anole lizards. His early work in this area was primarily phylogeographic, and revealed that many widespread anole species are comprised of genetically, and sometimes ecologically and phenotypically, distinct populations, some of which may be represent previously unrecognized species. These observations led to an interest in understanding the contributions of historical, geographic, and ecological processes to divergence in nature, which ultimately involved combining data on geographic variation with molecular genetic data and environmental niche modeling (Wang, Algar, Glor and Werren). Recently, Glor's studies of speciation in anoles have been focused primarily on a fascinating group of trunk anoles found on Hispaniola. By combining studies in nature with classical genetic experiments in the laboratory, he is conducting integrative studies of speciation and reproductive isolation. In addition to this work on speciation, he also is interested in understanding macroevolutionary patterns of species diversity through reconstruction of phylogenetic trees. This work has resulted in the first multilocus phylogenetic hypothesis for anoles (Alfoldi). Using phylogenetic trees, his work also has revealed the consequences of adaptive radiation for species diversification and ecological and morphological divergence (Mahler, Rabosky).

Curatorial Interests

Glor promotes the maintenance, growth, and accessibility of the KU Herpetological Collections and associated materials. He is involved with upgrading the division's main specimen database to Specify 6 and providing direct on-line access to this database. Glor is particularly interested in improving accessibility of Albert Schwartz's West Indian collection and associated data, including the contents of Schwartz's original field notebooks. His own collections from the West Indies, including more than 4000 tissues samples, are currently being accessioned into the KU collections. He also is serving as steward of the Herpetology Division's library, where he is overseeing the merger of two large and historically important reprint collections.

Teaching and outreach

Bodega Bay Applied Phylogenetics Course 2014

Glor teaches undergraduate and graduate lecture courses on phylogenetic and comparative methods, the tree of life, and herpetology. He regularly organizes structured seminar courses for advanced undergraduates and graduates on topics ranging from adaptive radiation to classic studies of speciation. Each year, he teaches phylogenetic comparative methods at the Bodega Bay Workshop in Applied Phylogenetics, and regularly contributes lectures and tutorials related to this workshop on treethinkers.org web page. Glor is a founding editor and regular contributor to Anole Annals, a popular blog dedicated to research on anoles. He regularly hosts formal and informal tours of the Herpetology Division and occasionally gives public lectures.

In the Field and Laboratory

Glor lab field work and laboratory work.

Glor maintains an active field program in the Greater Antilles, and focuses in particular on the island of Hispaniola. He and his students typically travel to the Dominican Republic for field work two or three times a year. Glor has a large colony of captive lizards on the campus of the University of Kansas. This colony is typically home to around 1000 live anoles that are being used in a variety of projects, ranging from assessing heritability of phenotypic traits to understanding dominance hierarchies among co-habitating individuals. Glor is the director of the Biodiversity Institute's Molecular Genetics Laboratory, a shared-use facility where his students obtain data for population genetic, phylogenetic, and genomic analyses.

Research Training

Graduate Students: Glor typically advises  two or three PhD students, who work on a diversity of research projects,  ranging from experimental genetic studies of reproductive isolation in anoles to macroevolutionary analyses of species diversification on Madagascar. He also serves on numerous student committees and informally advises other students in the KU EEB graduate program. Glor encourages prospective graduate students to get in touch with him. His students are members of the KU EEB graduate program. If you are interested in joining his lab through this program, you should contact him prior to applying with some basic information about yourself, your previous research experience, and why you think we might be a good academic fit. Please also include a copy of your CV that provides information about your educational background and GPA.

Undergraduate students: Undergraduates have a critical role in Glor's research program. Promising undergraduates typically are paired with a graduate student to acquire training in core research methods while assisting with acquisition of the graduate student’s data. Such training requires a serious commitment, typically starting with 8–10 hours a week for the duration of a semester. Once an undergraduate has obtained proficiency in one or more research methods, they will have opportunities to pursue their own independent research, either for credit, informally, or in pursuit of an honors thesis. Throughout this process, undergraduates are expected to begin digesting the primary literature through reading groups and independent study. Undergraduates are routinely authors on papers from Glor's group, and regularly are included in its field work. Seven undergraduates or postgraduates for whom Glor served as primary research adviser have gone on to join elite graduate programs in ecology and evolutionary biology at other institutions: Allie Ossip-Klein (Martins Lab, University of Indiana), Seth Rudman (Schluter Lab, UBC), Ryane Logsdon (UC Davis), Audrey Kelly (Pfennig Lab, UNC), Shane Campell-Staton (Edwards/Losos Labs Harvard), Shea Lambert (Wiens Lab, Arizona), Dan MacGuigan (Near Lab, Yale, starting Fall 2014).