Dr. Gordon Luikart

Associate Professor - Conservation Ecology

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Office Phone:  406-982-3301   x249


  • Ph.D., 1997, University of Montana, Organismal Biology and Ecology
  • Fulbright Ph.D. Scholar, 1994-95 La Trobe University, Australia
  • M.S., 1992, University of Montana, Zoology
  • B.S., 1988, Iowa State University, General Biology with minor in Animal Ecology


More information on our research projects may be found at the FLBS Genetics Research project pages.

Research Interests

My general research interests are in ecology, evolution, population genetics, and conservation biology (CV).  The primary focus of my research is the application of genetics to the conservation of natural populations and communities.  I work at the Flathead Lake Biological Station and at the Montana Conservation Genetics Laboratory at the University of Montana (UM).  I spend part of many years at the Center for Investigation of Biodiversity and Genetic Resources at the University of Porto in Portugal (CIBIO-UP).  My research applies the principles and tools of population genetics to fish, wildlife, pathogenic microbes, and invasive species. We have developed exchange programs between CIBIO-UP and UM along with projects in conservation genetics with Mike Schwartz and others at the Rocky Mountain Research Station.  Many of these projects use molecular genetics to describe intra-specific patterns of genetic variation and phylogenetic relationships in natural and unnatural populations.  To see information on some of our research projects, click here.


Selected Publications

  • Allendorf, F.W. and G. Luikart. 2007. Conservation and the Genetics of Populations. Blackwell. Pp. 642. [2nd Edition available in late 2012] Available at Amazon.com
Book chapters:
  • Geffen, E., G. Luikart, and R. Waples. 2006. Impacts  of modern molecular techniques on conservation biology. Chapter 4 In: Key Topics in Conservation Biology, Eds: D.W.  Macdonald and K. Service, Blackwell Publishing.
  • Schwartz, M.K., G. Luikart, K.S. McKelvey, and S. Cushman. 2009. Landscape genomics: a brief perspective. Chapter 19 in S.A. Cushman and F. Huettman (eds). Spatial Complexity, Informatics and Animal Conservation, Springer, Tokyo.
Example Publications:
  • Amish, S.J., P.A. Hohenlohe, R. F. Leary, C. Muhlfeld, F.W. Allendorf, and G. Luikart.  Next-generation RAD sequencing to develop species-diagnostic SNPs chips:  An example from westslope cutthroat and rainbow trout.  Molecular Ecology Resources. In Press.
  • Pérez-Figueroa, A., R. Wallen, T. Antao, J. Coombs, M.K. Schwartz, P.J. White and G. Luikart.  2011.  Conserving genetic variability in large mammals:  Effect of population fluctuations and variance in male reproductive success on genome-wide variation in Yellowstone bison.  Biological ConservationBiological Conservation. In Press. 
  • Landguth, E.L., C.C. Muhlfeld, and G. Luikart.  2011.  CDFISH: an individual-based, spatially-explicit, landscape genetics simulator for aquatic species in complex riverscapes.  Molecular Ecology Resources, DOI:10.1007/s12686-011-9492-6.
  • Cosart, T, A. Beja-Pereira, S. Chen, J. Shendure, and G. Luikart.  2011.  Exome-wide DNA capture and next generation sequencing in domestic and wild species.  BMC Genomics,  12:347-355.
  • Muhlfeld, C.C. J.J. Giersch, F.R Hauer, G.T. Pederson, G. Luikart, D.P. Peterson, C.C. Downs, and D.B. Fagre.  2011.  Climate change links fate of glaciers and a rare alpine invertebrate. Climate Change Letters, 106:327-345.
  • Luikart, G., S. Amish, J. Winnie, R. Godinho, A. Beja-Pereira, F.W. Allendorf, and R.B. Harris.  2011.  High connectivity among Argali from Afghanistan and adjacent countries: Assessment using neutral and candidate gene microsatellites.  Conservation Genetics, 12:921-931.
  • Hohenlohe, P., Amish, S., J. Catchen, F.W. Allendorf, and G. Luikart.  2011. RAD sequencing identifies thousands of SNPs for assessing hybridization in rainbow and westslope cutthroat trout.  Invited paper, Molecular Ecology Resources,  11:117–122.
  • Short Bull, R.A, R. Mace, S.A. Cushman, E.L Landguth, T. Chilton, K. Kendall, M.K. Schwartz, K.S. McKelvey, F.W. Allendorf, and G. Luikart.  2011.  Why replication is important in landscape genetics: Case of the American black bear in the Rocky Mountains.  Molecular Ecology,  6: 1092–1107.
  • Allendorf, F.W., P. Hohenlohe, and G. Luikart.  2010. Genomics and the future of conservation.  Invited Review, Nature Reviews Genetics,  11:697-709.
  • Antao, T., A. Pérez-Figueroa, and G. Luikart.  2010.  Detecting population declines: High power of genetic monitoring using effective population size estimators.  Evolutionary Applications, 4:144–154.
  • Landguth, E.L., S.A. Cushman, M. Murphy, and G. Luikart.  2010.  Quantifying landscape connectivity: Assessing lag time until barrier signals are detectable.  Molecular Ecology Resources, 19:4179–4191.
  • England, P.R., G. Luikart, and R.S. Waples.  2010. Early detection of population fragmentation using linkage disequilibrium estimation of effective population size.  Conservation Genetics, 11:2425–2430.
  • Luikart, G., N. Ryman, D.A. Tallmon, M.K. Schwartz, and F.W. Allendorf.  2010.  Estimating census and effective population sizes:  Increasing usefulness of genetic methods.  Invited Review, Conservation Genetics, 11: 355-373.Gebremedhin, B., G.F. Ficetola, S. Naderi, H.-R. Rezaei, C. Maudet, D. Rioux, G. Luikart, Ø. Flagstad, W. Thuiller, and P. Taberlet. 2009. Frontiers in identifying conservation units: from neutral markers to adaptive genetic variation. Invited commentary, Animal Conservation. 12:107-109.
  • Archie, E.A., G. Luikart, and V. Ezenwa. 2009. Infecting epidemiology with genetics: A new frontier in disease ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24:21-30.
  • Luikart, G., K. Pilgrim, J. Visty, V.O. Ezenwa, and M.K. Schwartz. 2008. Candidate gene microsatellite variation is associated with parasitism in wild bighorn sheep. Biology Letters, 4:228-231.
  • Schwartz, M.K., G. Luikart, and R.S. Waples. 2007. Genetic Monitoring as a promising tool for conservation and management. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 22:25-33.
  • Bruford, MW, D. Bradley, and G. Luikart. 2003. DNA markers reveal the complexity of livestock domestication. Nature Reviews Genetics, 4:900-910.
  • Luikart, G., P.R. England, D. Tallmon, S. Jordan, and P. Taberlet. 2003. The power and promise of population genomics: from genotyping to genome typing. Nature Reviews Genetics, 4:981-994.
Selected Publications in Preparation:
  • Waples, R.A., D.A. Tallmon, G. Luikart.   The relationship between Ne (effective size per generation) and Nb (effective number of breeders per year) in species with overlapping generations.  In Prep.
  • Boyer M., G. Luikart, R. F. Leary, and F. W. Allendorf. Comparison of the reliability of non-diagnostic versus diagnostic loci for estimating the proportion of admixture in individuals and populations using a Bayesian approach. In review.
  • Cosart, T, A. Beja-Pereira, J. Johnson, and G. Luikart. ExonSampler: A computer program for genome-wide sequence sampling to facilitate new generation sequencing.



  • Visiting Research Professor, University of Porto, Portugal
  • Visiting Research Scientist, Center for Investigation of Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO), Vairo, Portugal http://cibio.up.pt/
  • On leave, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France


Courses Taught

  • BIOL 452 Conservation Ecology (field course)
  • Population Genetics Data Analysis Course  http://popgen.eu/congen2011
  • BIOL 495/594  Essential Concepts in Microbiology, Ecology, Genetics and Evolution (I teach the Genetics and Evolution modules)
  • BIOB 595 Population Genetics Seminar