Jinzhong Fu

Associate Professor
Phone number: 
519-824-4120 x52715
SSC 1458
SSC 1403/1404

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 it's application to the study of speciation, sexual selection and conservation.

  • 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.

  • 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).
  • Qi, Y., B. Lu, H. Gao, P. Hu, and J. Fu. 2014. Hybridization and mitochondrial genome introgression between Rana chensinensis and R. kukunoris. Molecular Ecology 23: 5575-5588. DOI: 10.1111/mec.12960.
  • Yang W., Y. Qi, and J. Fu. 2014. Exploring the genetic basis of adaptation to high elevations in reptiles: a comparative transcriptome analysis of two lizards of the genus Phrynocephalus. PLoS ONE 9: e112218. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112218.
  • Lu, B., W. Yang, Q. Dai, and J. Fu. 2013. Using genes as characters and a parsimony analysis to explore the phylogenetic position of turtles. PLoS ONE 8: e79348 (p. 1-14). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079348.
  • Hudson, C. M. and J. Fu. 2013. Male-biased sexual size dimorphism, resource defense polygyny, and multiple paternity in the Emei moustache toad (Leptobrachium boringii). PLoS ONE 8: e67502 (p. 1-8).
  • Han, X. and J. Fu. 2013. Does life history shape sexual size dimorphism in anurans: A comparative analysis. BMC Evolutionary Biology 13: 27.
  • Yang, W., Y. Qi, K. Bi, and J. Fu. 2012. Toward understanding the genetic basis of adaptation to high elevation life in poikilothermic species: a comparative transcriptomic analysis of Rana chensiensis and R. kukunoris. BMC Genomics 13: 588 (page 1-11).
  • Zhan, A. and J. Fu. 2011. Past and present: Phylogeography of the Bufo gargarizans species complex inferred from multi-loci allele sequence and frequency data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61: 136-148.
  • 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.
  • ZOO*2090 Vertebrate Structure and Function
  • BIOL*3040 Methods in Evolutionary Biology
  • ZOO*4910 Integrative Vertebrate Biology
  • ZOO*4940 Lab Studies in Herpetology
  • Vhon Garcia (MSc)