Gordon Luikart

Gordon Luikart

Professor - Conservation Ecology & Genetics

Gordon Luikart

Gordon backpacking near Pitamakan Pass in Glacier National Park
Phone: (406) 872-4517
Email: gordon.luikart@umontana.edu


  • Ph.D., 1997, University of Montana, Organismal Biology and Ecology
  • M.S., 1992, University of Montana, Zoology
  • B.S., 1988, Iowa State University, General Biology with minor in Animal Ecology

Research Interests

My general research interests are in conservation biology, population genetics, and ecology (view C.V.).  My primary research focus is the application of genetics to the conservation of natural and managed populations (video).  I work at FLBS and in the Montana Conservation Genomics Laboratory (MCGL) at the University of Montana (UM) with my colleagues, Fred Allendorf, Robb Leary, Andrew Whiteley, Steve Amish, Brian Hand, Marty Kardos and others.  Our research applies the principles and tools of population genetics to fish, wildlife, and a variety of other species, including invasive species that are threatening native ecosystems and regional economies (AIS video).  We have established exchange programs and collaborations between the University of Montana and the University of Porto in Portugal (CIBIO-UP) with Portuguese colleagues (e.g., Albano Beja-Pereira) to promote international education, research, and conservation. We have exciting projects with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (e.g., Matt Boyer), US Geological Survey (Clint Muhlfeld, Ryan Kovach, Adam Sepulveda), National Marine Fisheries Service (Robin Waples), and the US Forest Service (Mike Schwartz, Beth Gardner).  We  develop and apply novel field sampling methods, DNA typing techniques, and data analysis approaches to understand landscape connectivity, adaptation to climate change, invasive species control (including pathogens), and the negative effects of inbreeding depression and hybridization on individual fitness and population viability.  For more information, visit our Research project pages.



  • Allendorf, F.W., G. Luikart, S. Aitken. 2013. Conservation and the Genetics of Populations [Second Edition]. Wiley-Blackwell. Pp. 642. [3rd edition commissioned for 2017]

Book chapters (selected):

  • Pierson, J.C., G. Luikart, and M.K. Schwartz. 2015. The application of genetic indicators in wild populations: potential and pitfalls for genetic monitoring. In Surrogates and Indicators in Ecology, Conservation and Environmental Management. Lindenmayer, DB; Pierson, JC and Barton P. (Eds.) CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne. CRC Press, London
  • 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.
  • 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.

Publications (selected): (*student) (^postdoc)

Visit NCBI for additional publications

  • ^Harrisson, K.A., S. Amish, A. Pavlova, S. Narum, M. Telonis-Scott, M.L. Rourke, J. Lyon, Z. Tonkin, D. Gilligan, B. Ingram, M. Lintermans, H.M. Gan, C.M. Austin, G. Luikart, P. Sunnucks. 2017. Signatures of polygenic adaptation associated with climate across the range of an Australian freshwater fish species. Molecular Ecology, In press.
  • Kovach, R.P., C.C. Muhlfeld, R. Al-Chokhachy, S.J. Amish, J.L. Kershner, R.F. Leary, W.H. Lowe, G. Luikart, P. Matson, D.A. Schmetterling, B.B. Shepard, P.A.H. Westley, D. Whited, A. Whiteley, and F.W. Allendorf. 2017. No evidence for ecological segregation protecting native trout from invasive hybridization. Global Change Biology, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13825
  • Muhlfeld C.C., R.P. Kovach, R. Al-Chokhachy, S.J. Amish, J.L. Kershner, R.F. Leary, W.H. Lowe, G. Luikart, P. Matson, D.A. Schmetterling, B.B. Shepard, P.A.H. Westley, D. Whited, A. Whiteley, and F.W. Allendorf. 2017, Legacy introductions and climatic variation explain spatiotemporal patterns of invasive hybridization in a native trout. Global Change Biology, 23: 4663-4674. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13681
  • Kovach, R., B.K. Hand, P. Hohenlohe, T. Cosart, M. Boyer, H. Neville, C. Muhlfeld, S. Amish, K. Carim, S. Narum, W. Lowe, F.W. Allendorf, and G. Luikart. 2016. Vive la résistance: genome-wide selection against introduced alleles in invasive hybrid zones of trout. Proceedings of the Royal Society, 283: 4663-4674.
  • Wade, A.A., ^B.K. Hand, C.C. Muhlfeld, R.P. Kovach, D.C. Whited, J. Kimball, G. Luikart. Accounting for adaptive capacity and uncertainty in species' climate change vulnerability assessments. Conservation Biology, In Press
  • Kovach, R., B.K. Hand, P. Hohenlohe, T. Cosart, M. Boyer, H. Neville, C. Muhlfeld, S. Amish, K. Carim, S. Narum, W. Lowe, F.W. Allendorf, and G. Luikart. 2016.  Vive la résistance: genome-wide selection against introduced alleles in invasive hybrid zones of trout.Proceedings of the Royal Society, In press.
  • Kamath, P.L., J.T. Foster, K.P. Drees, G. Luikart, C. Quance, N.J. Anderson, P.R. Clarke, E.K. Cole, M.L. Drew, W.H. Edwards, J.C. Rhyan, J.J. Treanor, R.L. Wallen, P.J. White, S. Robbe-Austerman, and P.C. Cross. 2016. Genomics reveals historic and contemporary transmission dynamics of a bacterial disease among wildlife and livestock. Nature Communications, 7:11448.
  • ^Hand, B.K., C.C. Muhlfeld, A.A. Wade, ^R.P. Kovach, D.C. Whited, S.R. Narum, A.P. Matala, M.W. Ackerman, *B.A. Garner, J.S. Kimball. J.A. Stanford, and G. Luikart. 2016. Climate variables explain neutral and adaptive variation within salmonid metapopulations: the importance of replication in landscape genetics. Molecular Ecology, 25:689–705.
  • Andrews, K.R., P.A. Hohenlohe, M.R. Miller, J. Good, and G. Luikart. 2016. Harnessing the power of RADseq for ecological and evolutionary genomics. Invited review, Nature Review Genetics, 17:81–92.
  • Garner B.A, ^B.K. Hand, *B. Addis, S. Amish, L. Bernatchez, J.T. Foster, K.M. Miller, P.A. Morin, S.R. Narum, S.J. O'Brien, *G. Roffler, J. Seeb, L.Seeb, W.D. Templin, P. Sunnucks, *J. Strait, K.I. Warheit, T.R. Seamons, J. Wenburg, J. Olsen, and G. Luikart. 2015. Genomics in conservation: case studies for bridging the gap between data and application. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 31:81–83.
  • Kamath, P.L., M.A. Haroldson, G. Luikart, D. Paetkau, C. Whitman, and F.T. van Manen. 2015. Multiple estimates of effective population size for monitoring a long-lived vertebrate: an application to Yellowstone grizzly bears. Molecular Ecology, 24:5507–5521.
  • ^Hand, B.K., W.H. Lowe, ^R.P. Kovach, C.C. Muhlfeld, and G. Luikart. 2015. Landscape community genomics: understanding eco-evolutionary processes in complex environments. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 30:161–168.
  • *Kardos, M., G. Luikart, R. Bunch, S. Dewey, W. Edwards, S. McWilliam, J. Stephenson, F.W. Allendorf, J.T. Hogg, and J. Kijas. 2015. Genome sequencing reveals selective sweeps for horn size and other traits in bighorn sheep. Molecular Ecology, 24: 5616–5632.  DOI: 10.1111/mec.13415
  • Muhlfeld C.C., ^R.P. Kovach, *L.A. Jones, M.C. Boyer, R.F. Leary, W.H. Lowe, G. Luikart, and F.W. Allendorf.  2014. Invasive hybridization in a threatened species is accelerated by climate change. Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2252.
  • *Hand, B.K., S. Chen, N. Anderson, A. Beja-Pereira, P. Cross, M. Ebinger, H. Edwards, B. Garrett, M. Kardos, H. Edwards, M. Kauffman, E.L. Landguth, A. Middleton, B. Scurlock, P.J. White, P. Zager, M. Schwartz, and G. Luikart.  2013. Sex-biased gene flow among elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. 5:124-132. http://dx.doi.org/10.3996/022012-JFWM-017
  • *Allendorf F.W.,P.R. England, G. Luikart, G.A. Ritchie, N. Ryman. 2010.  Genetic effects of harvest on wild animal populations. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 6:327-337.
  • 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. In press.
  • Archie, E.A., G. Luikart, and V. Ezenwa.2009. Infecting epidemiology with genetics: A newfrontier in disease ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24: 21-30.
  • 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.
  • Beja-Pereira, A., P.R. England, N. Ferrand, A. Bakheit, M.A. Abdalla, M. Mashkour, J. Jordana, P. Taberlet, and G. Luikart.  2004.  African origins of the domestic donkey. Science, 304:1781.
  • 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.