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  1. Toews D. P. L., Mandic, M., Richards, J. G. and D. E. Irwin 2014. Migration, mitochondria and the yellow-rumped warbler. Evolution 68: 241-255
  2. Seneviratne S., Toews D. P. L., Brelsford A. and D. E. Irwin 2012. Concordance of genetic and phenotypic characters across a sapsucker hybrid zone. Journal of Avian Biology 43: 119–130
  3. Toews, D. P. L. and A. Brelsford 2012. The Biogeography of Mitochondrial and Nuclear Discordance in Animals. Molecular Ecology 16: 3907-30
  4. Toews, D. P. L. and D. E. Irwin 2012. Pacific Wren (Troglodytes pacificus). The Birds of North America (A. Poole, Ed.).
  5. Kenyon, H. L., Toews, D. P. L. and D. E. Irwin 2011. Can song discriminate between MacGillivray’s and Mourning warblers in a narrow hybrid zone?. The Condor 113: 655-663


David Toews


Web page: Home Page, Lab page
Research area: Ecology, Evolution
Supervisor: D. Irwin
History: MSc., Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
BSc.H., Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, N.S.

How do new species arise, what makes them variable, and how to go about conserving them for the future? We’ve come a long way in our understanding of the evolution of life in the 150 years since the publication of the Origin of the Species, especially given the wave of new molecular tools and theory, which has given the field of evolutionary biology new life and rigour. My research in Dr. Darren Irwin’s lab involves using natural experiments, such as the recolonization of the forests of North America by songbirds following the retreat of the glaciers, to better understand the evolution of local adaptation and reproductive isolation. Using areas of secondary contact where divergent populations now meet we can 1) observe a wide spectrum reproductive barriers in taxa that are strongly reproductively isolated (i.e. the winter wren and pacific wren) to taxa that hybridize extensively (i.e. Townsend’s and black-throated green warblers) and 2) test for evidence of introgression in genes or traits that may have been favoured by selection. I am using genetic, physiological, behavioural, and ecological methods to understand how these critters have adapted to their different lives apart and the evolutionary dynamics and consequences now that they are back together.



Alberta Conservation Association Grants in Biodiversity

For Research


Hesse Research Award in Ornithology

For Research


National Geographic Young Explorers Grant

For Research

Last updated 24 September 2014