D. Luke Mahler, Principal Investigator


I’m an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto.

Previously, I worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Rich Glor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas.  For the three years preceding that, I was based at UC Davis, first as the CPB Postdoctoral Fellow, and then as a postdoc with Peter Wainwright. Prior to that, I did my Ph.D. with Jonathan Losos at Harvard University. For more about me, please download my CV, and check out my Research page.

Current Lab Members

Alex Tinius, EEB Postdoctoral Fellow

alex tinius 4

Despite his love for wild life and photography Alex has never caught a single anole on camera. As it turns out his study subjects avoid the cold and temperate climates that Alex calls home. Following his Ph.D. thesis under the guidance of Tony Russell (UofCalgary) his main interests lie in the form, function, and evolution of the appendicular girdles. Alex viciously exploits anole diversity to investigate causal relationships between the variation in skeletal morphology and associated differences in ecology and habitat use. A few of his more common-sense findings feature online on his website.

Graduate Students

Chris Boccia, MSc


Chris defended his MSc in the Fall of 2018; his thesis focused on testing for convergent evolution in semi-aquatic anoles. Chris travelled to Costa Rica, Mexico, and Colombia to observe and test the swimming performance of 4 phylogenetically distinct semi-aquatic anole species. Chris has keen interests in conservation, natural history, biogeography, and macroevolution and is an avid birdwatcher and herpetologist.

Ken Toyama, PhD Student


Ken joined the lab in the Fall of 2017 to start his PhD studies. His main interests are macroevolution and ecomorphology, which he developed working mainly with squamates. Ken studied tropidurine lizards in South America and European herpetofauna of the Mediterranean basin previously, and at present he is studying the evolution of sexual dimorphism in anoles. You can find more about Ken’s research and interests on his personal website.

Jill Sanderson, PhD Student


Jill began her MSc studies with the lab in the Fall of 2018. She has a keen interest in fitness tradeoffs, inter-and intraspecific interactions, and macreoevolution. Jill is studying signal function and evolution in Anolis lizards. More specifically, she is interested in exploring colour pattern complexity of anole dewlaps.

Undergraduate Students

Edita Folfas


After participating in data collection during the 2018 Mahler Lab field season in Jamaica, Edita is now working on an independent undergraduate research project in the lab. She is exploring the evolution of female-biased sexual size dimorphism in continental Anolis lizards.

Daniel Zhang

Daniel Zhang Lab Photo

Daniel is a third-year undergraduate student. He started working in the lab as a work-study student in Summer 2018, and he is currently conducting an independent undergraduate research project on the evolution of limb bone shape across habitat gradients within four widespread species of Anolis lizard.

Previous Lab Members

Luke Frishkoff

Dr. Luke Owen Frishkoff held one of our department’s prestigious EEB Postdoctoral Fellowships, and he worked jointly with the Mahler Lab and the lab of Marie-Josée Fortin. Luke’s research focused on how species’ evolutionary histories shape their responses to human-induced habitat change, and he applied this perspective to study how communities of Caribbean Anolis lizards change as they respond to habitat modification and a warmer climate. You can find more about Luke’s work at his website.

James Boyko

James Boyko, MSc, joined the lab in Fall 2015 and pursued his interests in macroevolution by studying morphological evolution in Lesser Antillean Anolis lizards.

Michael Foisy

Michael, MSc, was an NSERC-funded Master’s student working jointly in the Mahler and Rodd Labs. He is interested in co-evolution, trait evolution, and comparative methods. Michael used phylogenetic models and experiments to explore how female mating biases may precede, and subsequently facilitate, the evolution of male ornaments in poeciliid fishes. Michael also has a fondness for bees; his favourite species is Amegilla murrayensis.



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