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

Rhodes, Olin E., and Latch, Emily K. “Wildlife reintroductions: Conceptual development and application of theory.” Molecular Approaches in Natural Resource Conservation and Management Ed. DeWoody, J. A., Bickham, J. W., Michler, C., Rhodes, O. E., and Woeste, K. Cambridge University Press, (2010): 296-319.
Latch, Emily K., Heffelfinger, James R., Fike, Jennifer A., and Rhodes, Olin E. “Species-wide phylogeography of North American mule deer: cryptic glacial refugia and postglacial recolonization.” Molecular Ecology 18. (2009): 1730-1745.
Latch, Emily K., and Ivy, Jamie A. “Meshing molecules and management: a new era for natural resource conservation.” Biology Letters 5. (2009): 3-4.
Drauch, Andrea M., Fisher, Brant E., Latch, Emily K., Fike, Jennifer A., and Rhodes, Olin E. “Evaluation of a remnant lake sturgeon population’s utility as a source for reintroductions.” Conservation Genetics 9. (2008): 1195-1209.
Latch, Emily K., Scognamillo, Daniel G., Fike, Jennifer A., Chamberlain, Michael B., and Rhodes, Olin E. “Deciphering ecological barriers to North American river otter gene flow in the Louisiana landscape.” Journal of Heredity 99. (2008): 265-274.
Latch, Emily K., Amann, Rupert A., Jacobson, James P., and Rhodes, Olin E. “Competing hypotheses for the etiology of cryptorchidism in Sitka black-tailed deer: An evaluation of evolutionary alternatives.” Animal Conservation 11. (2008): 234-246.

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.