oaks at Sedgwick Research Preserve, Santa Barbara County, California, USA


Molecular Ecology, Genetics and Genomics of Tree Populations

My research program examines evolutionary and ecological processes in tree populations. Gene flow and natural selection shape the genetic composition of populations that reflects evolutionary history and determines evolutionary response to future environmental change.

Currently, a major thrust of my research utilizes genomic tools to document the extent to which candidate genes show environmental associations in range-wide samples of valley oak (Quercus lobata), an ecologically significant oak species that has lost the majority of its distribution in the last 300 years. This work takes a landscape genomic approach to understand adaptation, in the face of environmental change.

Our lab also investigates contemporary gene flow through pollen and seeds by developing new statistical tools for landscape scale analysis with long-term funding from the National Science Foundation. We currently have projects in a broad range of ecosystems, including oak-savanna in California, dry tropical fragmented forest in Mexico, desert communities of Africa and southern California, and tropical forest in Ecuador. These studies demonstrate the role of landscape factors and plant-animal interactions on genetic diversity within populations and connectivity among sites.

Victoria L. Sork

Contact Information

Victoria L. Sork
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
University of California
4139 Terasaki Life Sciences Building
610 Charles E. Young Drive East
Los Angeles, California 90095-7239 USA
Phone: 310-825-7755 (office), 310-794-1431 (lab)
Email: vlsork@ucla.edu
Faculty website: www.eeb.ucla.edu/indivfaculty.php?FacultyKey=821
Lab website: www.eeb.ucla.edu/Faculty/Sork/Sorklab