Brian Hand

Brian Hand

Assistant Research Professor

Brian Hand


Though much of my work falls broadly in the fields of landscape and conservation genetics, first and foremost I consider myself a computer scientist. My computer science training and mindset has greatly helped me to provide unique insight and perspective on multidisciplinary research projects aimed at developing tools for applied conservation management. There is great untapped potential for further integrating computer science into conservation biology; from developing web-based tools to bioinformatic tools to database management to writing software programs to simulate key ecological and evolutionary processes, the potential and need are great.


  • Ph.D., 2013, University of Montana, Computational Biology
  • M.S., 2010, University of Montana, Computer Science
  • B.S., 2004, University of Montana, Physics and Astronomy

Brian's C.V.



AgeStrucNe - Coming Soon!

GARM (v1.2.1) (Linux only, 61MB) - A Genetic Algorithm for Resistance Map creation (GARM) attempts to converge upon the optimal solution to relate landscape features to genetic structure with the additional attribute of finding the weighted resistance of each landscape feature. GARM is a new tool to aid in understanding genetic connectivity by developing a more rigorous approach to corridor and barrier modeling in landscape genetics. The updated version of GARM has the addition of the option to run Circuitscape and least-cost path connectivity models. Also, this version includes new statistical tests (Rv-coefficient, and tb-RDA). This version has a substantial increase in the number of dependencies needed to install and is only currently supported on a Linux operating system.

To start the install, use the following command to unpack the install on a linux system: tar -zxvf GARM_Install.tar.gz

Then navigate to the GARM_Install folder (e.g., cd GARM_Install) and follow the install instructions in the README_Install file.



Accepted or in Press

Hand BK, Devlin S, Mulhfeld CC, Frissell C, Kennedy B., Crabtree R. Flint CG, McKee A., Luikart G., Stanford J. Accepted. A Social-Ecological Systems Approach for Riverscape Sustainability in the Columbia River Basin. Special issue in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.



Ackerman MW, Hand BK, Waples RK, Luikart G, Waples RP, Steele C, Garner BA, McCane J, Vu N, Campbell M. Effective number of breeders estimated from sibship reconstruction: empirical evaluations using captive populations. Accepted in Evolutionary Applications.

Wade AA, Hand BK, Kovach RP, et al. (2016) Accounting for adaptive capacity and uncertainty in assessments of species’ climate-change vulnerability. Conserv Biol. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12764 

Wade AA, Hand BK, Kovach RP, Mulfeld CC, Waples R, Luikart G. Assessments of species’ vulnerability to climate change: from pseudo to science. Accepted in Biodiversity and Conservation.


Garner BA, Hand BK, Amish SJ, et al. (2016) Genomics in Conservation: Case Studies and Bridging the Gap between Data and Application. Trends Ecol Evol 31:81–83. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2015.10.009 

Hand BK, Muhlfeld CC, Wade AA, et al. (2016) Climate variables explain neutral and adaptive variation within salmonid metapopulations: The importance of replication in landscape genetics. Mol Ecol 25:689–705. doi: 10.1111/mec.13517

Kovach RP, Hand BK, Hohenlohe PA, Cosart TF, Boyer MC, Neville HH, Amish SJ, Carim K, Narum SR, Lowe WH, Allendorf, FW,  Luikart G. (2016). Vive la résistance: genome-wide selection against introduced alleles in invasive hybrid zones. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 283(1843).


Hand BK, *Hether TD, Hohenlohe PA, Kovach RP, Muhlfeld CC, Amish SJ, Boyer M, Miller MR, Lowe WH, Luikart G. (2015) Genomics of introgression in hybridized populations: discovery and mapping thousands of species-diagnostic SNPs by RAD next generation sequencing. Current Zoology, 61, 146-154.

Hand BK, Lowe WH, Kovach RP, Muhlfeld CC, Luikart G. (2015) Landscape community genomics: understanding eco-evolutionary processes in complex environments. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Doi:10.1016/j.tree.2015.01.005

Kovach RP, Muhlfeld CC, Hand BK, Whited DC, Wade AA, DeHaan P, Luikar G. (2015) Climatic and habitat variation is related to genetic diversity in bull trout: implications for vulnerability to climate change. Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12850


Andrews K, Hohenlohe PA, Miller MR, Hand BK, Seeb J, Luikart G.  (2014)  Trade-offs and utility of alternative RADseq methods. Molecular Ecology.

Hand BK, Chen S, Anderson N, Beja-Pereira A, Cross PC, Ebinger M, Edwards H, Garrott RA, Kardos M, Kauffman M, Landguth EL, Middleton A, Schwartz M, Scurlock B, White PJ, Zager P, Luikart G (2014) Limited maternal gene flow among elk herds in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem revealed by mtDNA. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. 5, 124-131.

Hand BK, Cushman SA, Landguth EL, & Lucotch J (2014). Assessing multi-taxa sensitivity to the human footprint, habitat fragmentation and loss by exploring alternative scenarios of dispersal ability and population size: a simulation approach. Biodiversity and Conservation. doi:10.1007/s10531-014-0747-x


Landguth EL, Hand BK, Glassy J, Cushman SA, Sawaya MA (2012) UNICOR: a species connectivity and corridor network simulator. Ecography, 35, 9–14.


Publications in prep or review.

Hand BK, Cosart T, *Trethewey B, Antao T, *Garner B, Waples R, Ackerman M, Luikart G. AgeStrucNe: A software tool for detecting population declines in the effective number of breeders (Nb) and correlation to the environment. In prep.

Book chapters in prep

Forester BR, Landguth EL, Hand BK, Balkenhol N. (In review) Landscape genomics for wildlife research. In Population Genomics: Wildlife (ed. Hohenlohe P). Springer Publishing, New York.

Luikart G, Kardos M, Hand BK, Rajora O, Aitkin S, Hohenlohe P. (In review) Population genomics. In Population Genomics (ed. Rajora O.) Springer Publishing, New York

Hohenlohe P, Hand BK, Andrews KR, Luikart G. (In review) Population Genomics Provides Key Insights in Ecology and Evolution. In Population Genomics (ed. Rajora O.) Springer Publishing, New York



Nigon CV 2017.pdf