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Dr. Jinzhong Fu
Associate Professor

Dr. Jinzhong Fu


Office: SCIE 1458
Ext: 52715
Lab: SCIE 1403/1404
Ext: 58381


My interests in animals started from my childhood when I used to chase lizards (Eremias argus) in the fields. I pursued this interest as an undergraduate at the Nankai University and then a graduate student at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. I subsequently spent five years as an assistant curator of herpetology at the Institute of Zoology (Beijing), which expended my interests in systematics, and eventually led me to the University of Toronto where I conducted my Ph.D. research on the molecular phylogenetics of lacertid lizards. As a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of California (Berkeley), I became more aware of how molecular phylogenetics could be applied to evolutionary biology. Since I arrived at Guelph, my research has focused on molecular phylogenetics and itŐs application to the study of speciation, sexual selection and conservation.

The FuLab Website


B.Sc. - Tianjin 1985
M.Sc. - Chengdu 1988
Ph.D. - Toronto 1998


Research in my lab is phylogenetics oriented. With a phylogenetic framework, we evaluate biodiversity and other important evolutionary issues.

Applications of Phylogenetic Information in Biodiversity Assessment

Phylogenetic information is crucial to assess biodiversity and prioritize our conservation efforts, and the use of molecular data in retrieving such information is one of the fastest growing areas in biology. My research program has employed Tibetan amphibians as a model system. The objectives of this program are to:

  • identify lineages of high conservation priority
  • determine natural population structure;
  • probe the causes of diversification patterns and processes
  • establish regional conservation priorities

Speciation Processes and Molecular Phylogenetics

The most fundamental unit of biodiversity is the species, and understanding the speciation process is the key for understanding biodiversity. Phylogenetic analysis creates opportunities to look at species from an historical and evolutionary perspective, and molecular data provide a capacity to examine history at multiple levels, such as genes, populations and species. My research program in this area targets the boundary between populations and species, where speciation takes place, by testing genealogical hypotheses and determining levels of gene flow among populations. I have chosen two model systems, salamanders of the genus Batrachuperus and sand lizards of the genus Phrynocephalus. Phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequence data are used to define lineages and establish relationships among them. Allozyme and microsatellite DNA data are employed to examine gene flow among lineages.

Selected Publications

Liu, K., F. Wang, W. Chen, L. Tu, K. Bi and J. Fu. 2010. Rampant historical mitochondrial genome introgression between two species of green pond frogs, Pelophylax nigromaculatus and P. plancyi. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10: 201 (p.1-12).

Noble, D., Y. Qi, and J. Fu. 2010. Species delineation using Bayesian model-based assignment tests: A case study using Chinese toad-headed agamas (genus Phrynocephalus). BMC Evolutionary Biology 10: 197 (p.1-15).

Urquhart, J., Y. Wang, and J. Fu. 2009. Historical vicariance and male-biased dispersal in the toad-headed lizards Phrynocephalus przewalskii. Molecular Ecology 18: 3714-3729.

Chen, W., K. Bi and J. Fu. 2009. Frequent mitochondrial gene introgression among high elevation Tibetan megophryid frogs revealed by conflicting gene genealogies. Molecular Ecology 18: 2856-2876

Bi, K., J. P. Bogart, and J. Fu. 2008. The prevalence of genome replacement in unisexual salamanders of genus Ambystoma (Amphibia, Caudata) revealed by nuclear gene genealogy. BMC Evolutionary Biology 8: 158 (p.1-9).

Fu, J. and X. Zeng. 2008. How many species are in the genus Batrachuperus? A phylogeographical analysis of the stream salamanders (family Hynobiidae) from southwestern China. Molecular Ecology 17: 1469-1488.

Amato, M., R. J. Brooks, and J. Fu. 2008. A phylogeographic analysis of populations of the wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) throughout its range. Molecular Ecology 17: 570-581.

Bogart, J. P., K. Bi, J. Fu, D. Noble, and J. Niedzwiecki. 2007. Unisexual salamanders (genus Ambystoma) present a new reproductive mode for Eukaryotes. Genome 50: 119-136.

Fu J., C. J. Weadick, X. Zeng, Y. Wang, Z. Liu, Y. Zheng, C. Li, and Y. Hu. 2005. Phylogeographic analysis of the Bufo gargarizans species complex: A revisit. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 202-213.

Fu, J. 2000. Toward the phylogeny of family Lacertidae: Why 4708 base pairs of mtDNA sequences cannot draw the picture. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 71:203-217.


ZOO*4910 Integrative Vertebrate Biology
ZOO*4940 Lab Studies in Herpetology
BIOL*3400 Evolution