Burbrink, Frank T. main content.

Frank T. Burbrink

Frank T. Burbrink

Associate Curator, Department of Herpetology, Division of Vertebrate Zoology
Principal Investigator, Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics
Associate Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School

Curriculum Vitae (short version)


  • Louisiana State University, Ph.D., 2000
  • University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), M.S., 1995
  • University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), B.S., 1993

Research Interests

Dr. Burbrink examines the evolutionary history and biogeography of reptiles and amphibians across the world. This research helps understand how species are generated, what processes produce patterns of species richness, and how local communities are formed. Within this research framework, he is currently investigating population genetics, phylogeography and systematics of snakes. He has also examined how traits have influenced both species diversification and the regional assemblage of taxa across space and time. Additionally, he also conducts research on divergence dating techniques using integrated molecular phylogenies and fossil data, theoretical phylogenetics, and species tree estimation using genomic data. To collect genomic and morphological data on snakes, he has recently conducted research expeditions with his students across North America, South America, Asia and Madagascar. Finally, to generate realistic models and properly address questions within these major areas of ecology and evolutionary biology, Dr. Burbrink has developed methods to integrate genomic, environmental and morphological data.



Burbrink, F. T. and E. A. Myers. 2015. Both traits and phylogenetic history influence community structure in snakes over steep environmental gradients. Ecography (in press).doi: 10.1111/ecog.01148.

Ruane, S., Raxworthy, C. J., Lemmon, A. R., Lemmon, E.M., and F. T. Burbrink. (accepted ms).Comparing species tree estimation with large anchored phylogenomic and small Sanger-sequenced molecular datasets: An empirical study on Malagasy pseudoxyrhophiine snakes. BMC Evolutionary Biology (accepted ms).

Burbrink, F. T. and T. J. Guiher. 2015. Considering gene flow when using coalescent methods to delimit lineages of North American pitvipers of the genus Agkistrodon. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 173: 505-526.

Ruane, S., Carvajal, O. T., and F. T. Burbrink.2015. Independent demographic responses to climate change among temperate and tropical milksnakes (Colubridae: Genus Lampropeltis). PLOS ONE 10(6): e0128543.

Pyron, R. A., and F. T. Burbrink. 2015.Contrasting models of parity-mode evolution in squamate reptiles. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution 324: 467-472.

Fry, B.G, Sunagar, K., Casewell, N., Kochva, E., Scheib, H., Wuster, W., Vidal, N., Young, B., Burbrink, F.T., Pyron, R.A., Vonk, F.J., Roelants, K., and T.N.W. Jackson. 2014. The origin and evolution of the Toxicofera reptile venom system. Chapter 1 in Venomous Reptiles And Their Toxins: Evolution, Pathophysiology And Biodiscovery (B. G. Fry, ed.) Oxford University Press (in press).

Pyron, R. A., G. C. Costa, M.A. Patton, and F. T. Burbrink. 2015. Phylogenetic niche conservatism and the evolutionary basis of ecological speciation. Biological Reviews (in press):  doi: 10.1111/brv.12154

Teaching Experience

City University of New York:

Biology 70603: Principles of Systemtics (Doctoral course)

Biology 322: Evolution (Undergraduate Course)

Biology 605: Statistics (Master’s Course)

Biology 181: General Biology II: Laboratory (Undergraduate Course)

Biology 79302: Molecular Systematics and Ecology of Vertebrates (Doctoral course)

Biology 272: Biostatistics (Undergraduate Course)

Biology 213: Vertebrate Zoology (Undergraduate Course)

Biology 171: General Biology I: Laboratory (Undergraduate Course)


“Next generation sequencing for phylogenetics and phylogeography” at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) with Moriarity-Lemmon, Lemmon, Brown, Ané, Bybee and Weisrock.

UFRN in Brazil:

One week of “Coalescent methods for phylogeographic analysis” as part of thephylogeography/population genetics course graduate course in at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte Centro de Biociências in Brazil.

External Links