Gordon Luikart

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Gordon Luikart

Professor - Conservation Ecology & Genetics

Send Email:gordon.luikart@umontana.edu

Office Phone: 406-982-3301 x249


  • 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 my C.V.). The primary focus of my research is the application of genetics to the conservation of natural and domesticated 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 Whitely, 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 nasty invasive species (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 collaborations with Clint Muhlfeld at the US Geological Survey, and Mike Schwartz at the Rocky Mountain Research Station. Many of our projects combine field sampling with the use of molecular genetic markers and novel data analysis approaches to understand and monitor landscape connectivity, adaptation to climate change, population viability, invasive species, DNA-based disease epidemiology, and loss of genomic diversity. For more information, visit my Research 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

  • 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.


Field of Study

  • Conservation Biology; Population Genetics; Ecology; Fish and Wildlife Management; Landscape Genomics

Courses Taught

  • BIOB 452/552 Conservation Ecology (3 credit summer field course; undergraduate and graduate students)
  • BIOB 480/580  Conservation Genetics (3 credit course; undergraduate and graduate students, USFWS and other agency personnel)
  • BIOB 495/594 Population Genetic Data Analysis Course (3 credit course; graduate students, postdocs and faculty) previous course; current course
  • BIOB 561 Population Genetics seminar (1 credit; undergraduate and graduate students)
  • BIOL 495/594 Essential Concepts in Microbiology, Ecology, Genetics and Evolution (3 credits; I taught the Genetics and Evolution modules)

Grants (selected)

  • NASA-ROSES (Ecological forecasting for conservation): Projecting effects of climate change on river habitats and salmonid fishes. 2014-2018.
  • NSF-DoB: Dimensions - Predicting Biodiversity Vulnerability to Climate Change: Integrating Phylogenetic, Genomic, and Function Diversity in River Floodplains. 2016-2020.
  • NSF-DEB: Evolutionary mechanisms influencing the spread of hybridization: genomics, fitness, and dispersal. 2013-2017


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updated: 2/14/2017 1:14 pm