Emily Latch

Associate Professor
 (414) 229-4245
 Lapham Hall N215


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Institution, National Zoological Park, 2007-2008
  • Visiting Scholar, Eastern Illinois University, 2006-2007
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Purdue University, 2004-2006
  • PhD, Purdue University, Population Genetics, 2004
  • BS, Cedar Crest College, 1999


Research Interests

I am interested in the ways in which ecological processes (both natural and anthropogenic) shape the evolutionary trajectory of a species. How organisms respond to ecological change and variability may represent the first steps toward the evolution of genetic differences among populations, and ultimately influence the process of speciation. My research takes on this challenge in two ways. First, I have utilized managed wildlife species to investigate the effects of anthropogenically-induced ecological changes on the evolutionary trajectory of populations. Second, I have more broadly investigated the role of ecological variability in shaping patterns of genetic differentiation over space and time. A related focus of my research involves genetic data analysis and the performance of existing analytical approaches when rigorously challenged with empirical datasets. I also am interested in applying genetic tools to design optimal strategies for conservation and management of wild species. Thus, an important component of my research focuses on applied conservation genetics.

I am currently working on a variety of projects, including: species-wide phylogeography and contemporary population structure of mule deer, historical and contemporary patterns of gene flow in fishers, evolution of mate fidelity in house wrens, comparative phylogeography in Amazonian antwrens, landscape genetics of desert tortoises, spatio-temporal dynamics of hybrid zone evolution, and genetics of population establishment.

Selected Publications

Anderson, Sara J., Kierepka, Elizabeth M., Swihart, Robert K., Latch, Emily K., Rhodes, Olin E., and . “Assessing the permeability of landscape features to animal movement: using genetic structure to infer functional connectivity.” PLoS ONE 10. (2015): e0117500.
Latch, Emily K., Reding, Dawn A., Heffelfinger, James R., and Rhodes, Olin E. “Range-wide analysis of genetic structure in a widespread, highly mobile species (Odocoileus hemionus) reveals the importance of historical biogeography.” Molecular Ecology 23.13 (2014): 3171-3190.
Kierepka, Elizabeth A., Latch, Emily K., , and . “Performance of partial statistics in individual-based landscape genetics.” Molecular Ecology Resources 5.3 (2014): 512-525.
Hapeman, Paul, Latch, Emily K., Kilpatrick, William, and Rhodes, Olin E. “When recent and evolutionary histories meet: Deciphering temporal events from contemporary patterns of mtDNA from fishers (Martes pennanti) in northeastern North America.” Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 52. (2014): 331-337.
Mowry, Rebecca, Schneider, Theresa, Latch, Emily K., Gompper, Matt, Beringer, Jeff, and Eggert, Lori. “Genetic monitoring of reintroduced river otter populations reveals demographic recovery without genetic restoration.” Animal Conservation 18.2 (2014): 196-206.
Heim, Brett C., Ivy, Jamie A., and Latch, Emily K. “A suite of microsatellite markers optimized for amplification of DNA from addax (Addax nasomaculatus) blood preserved on FTA cards.” Zoo Biology, Zoo Biology 30. (2012): 1-9.
Kierepka, Elizabeth M., Latch, Emily K., and Swanson, Bradley J. “Influence of sampling scheme on the inference of sex-biased gene flow in the American badger.” Canadian Journal of Zoology 90.10 (2012): 1231-1242.
Hapeman, Paul, Latch, Emily K., Fike, Jennifer A., Rhodes, Olin E., and Kilpatrick, William. “Landscape genetics of fishers (Martes pennanti) in the Northeast: Dispersal barriers and historical influences.” Journal of Heredity, Journal of Heredity 102.3 (2011): 251-259.
Beatty, William, Latch, Emily K., Liu, Zhiwei, and Nelson, Thomas. “Genetic assessment of the red squirrel in Illinois: Immigrant of exotic?.” The Journal of Wildlife Management, Journal of Wildlife Management 75.5 (2011): 1236-1242.
Latch, Emily K., Kierepka, Elizabeth A., Heffelfinger, James R., and Rhodes, Olin E. “Hybrid swarm between divergent lineages of mule deer.” Molecular Ecology, Molecular Ecology. (2011).
Latch, Emily K., Boarman, William I., Walde, Andrew, and Fleischer, Robert C. “Fine-scale analysis reveals cryptic landscape genetic structure in desert tortoises.” PLoS ONE, PLoS ONE. (2011): 10.

AM. Drauch, EK. Latch, JA. Fike and OE. Rhodes (2008) Evaluation of a remnant lake sturgeon population’s utility as a source for reintroductions. Conservation Genetics, 9:1195-1209.