UCF Biology

Christopher Parkinson

Research Area(s): Molecular evolution, phylo-geography, conservation, and systematics.


Dr. Parkinson’s research program focuses on understanding, describing and conserving the World’s biodiversity, both at the organismal and molecular levels. The foundation of his research lies in molecular phylogenetics thereby using genetic material (DNA) to hypothesize the evolutionary history of organisms or gene sequences. He then tries to infer which historical and/or current forces may have led to the organisms present day behavior, distribution, diversity, and ecology. The secondary area of his research program is conservation genetics, which uses genetics to investigate population level processes within threatened and endangered taxa. By utilizing the genetic data, we are able to suggest holistic management strategies to increase a species chance for survival.


  • 2009    Castoe, T.A., Daza, J.M., Smith, E.N.  Sasa, M.M., Kuch, U., Campbell, J.A.,  Chippindale, P.T. and C.L. Parkinson. Comparative  Phylogeography of Pitvipers Suggests a Consensus  of Ancient Middle AmericanHighland Biogeography. Journal of Biogeography 36: 88–103.  Cover of the Journal article.
  • 2009    Fenwick, A., R.L. Gutberlet, J.A. Evans,  and C.L. Parkinson. Morphological and molecular  evidence for phylogeny and classification of  South American pitvipers, genera Bothrops,  Bothriopsis, and Bothrocophias (Serpentes:  Viperidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.
  • 2009    Castoe,T.A, A. P. Jason de Koning, H-M. Kim, W. Gu,  B. Noonan, G. Naylor , Z. Jiang, C.L.  Parkinson, and D. Pollock. Evidence for an  ancient adaptive episode of convergent molecular  evolution. Submitted to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • 2009    Suazo, A.A., J.E. Fauth, J.D. Roth, C.L,  Parkinson, and I.J.Stout.  Responses of small  rodents to habitat restoration and management for  the endangered Florida Scrub-Jay. Biological Conservation.
  • 2009    Daza, J.M., E.N. Smith, V. P. Páez and  C.L. Parkinson.  Complex evolution in the  Neotropics: the origin and diversification of the  widespread genus Leptodeira (Serpentes: Colubridae). Submitted to Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.
  • 2009    Metzger, G.A., Kraus, F. Allison, A. and C. L. Parkinson.  Uncovering cryptic diversity in  Aspidomorphus (Serpentes: Elapidae): evidence  from mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.
  • 2007    Degner, J.F., I.J. Stout, J.D. Roth, and C. L. Parkinson. Population Genetics and  Conservation of the Threatened Southeastern Beach  Mouse (Peromyscus polionotus niveiventris):  Subspecies and Evolutionary Units. Conservation Genetics 8:1441–1452.
  • 2007    Castoe, T.A., E.N. Smith, R.M. Brown, and  C.L. Parkinson. Higher-level phylogeny of Asian  and American coralsnakes, their placement within  the Elapidae (Squamata), and the systematic  affinities of the enigmatic Asian coralsnake  Hemibungarus calligaster. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 151:809-831
  • 2006    Castoe, T.A., and C.L. Parkinson.  Bayesian Mixed Models and the Phylogeny of  Pitvipers (Viperidae: Serpentes). Molecular  Phylogenetics and Evolution 39:91–110.
  • 2000    Palmer, J.D., K.L. Adams, Y. Cho, C.L.  Parkinson, Y.-L. Qiu and K. Song.  Dynamic Evolution of Plant Mitochondrial Genomes: Mobile  Genes and Introns, and Highly Variable Mutation  Rates.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U. S. A. 97:6960-6966.
  • 1999 Parkinson, C.L.  The Molecular Systematics and Biogeography of the Subfamily Crotalinae as Determined by mtDNA Sequences. Copeia 1999 pp. 576-586.



  • Ph.D Environmental Biology, 1996 – University of Louisville
  • B.S Wildlife Biology and Field Botany, 1990 – Ohio University



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