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Office Hours

M 10:00 AM-12:00 PM
T 03:45 PM-04:45 PM
W 01:30 PM-03:30 PM
R 03:45 PM-04:45 PM

Dr. Giarla joined the Biology Department at Siena in 2015. His research focuses on tropical small mammals like rodents and shrews and aims to reconstruct evolutionary relationships (phylogenetic systematics), describe new species, and investigate the evolutionary forces that generate biodiversity. His projects include field, laboratory, and computational elements.

He earned his B.A. in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis and his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Minnesota. As a Ph.D. student, he studied the systematics and biogeography of South American marsupials (opossums). After graduate school, he spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Louisiana State University’s Museum of Natural Science. There, he worked on various projects exploring the evolutionary history of tropical small mammals in Africa and Asia.

At Siena, he is continuing his work on tropical small mammals and teaches several introductory and upper level courses. He teaches General Biology I, Ecology, Biology of the Vertebrates, and Genomics and Bioinformatics. Dr. Giarla is a member of the Genomics Education Partnership, a consortium of scholars who bring real genomic datasets into the classroom for students to analyze, allowing students to make contributions to comparative genomics projects that will ultimately be published in peer reviewed journals.

Dr. Giarla's Lab Website

Degree Program University
Ph.D. Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior University of Minnesota
B.A. Biology Washington University

My Siena Experience

What I Love About Siena

I love that Siena provides me with the resources to bring students into the field for hands-on surveys and experiments in natural habitats.

My Favorite Courses to Teach

I love all of the courses I teach at Siena, but my favorite is Biology of the Vertebrates because it allows me to talk about all of the topics that got me most excited about being a biologist: the ecology, evolution, behavior, and conservation of vertebrate animals. 

My Professional Experience

Year Title University
2015 - Now Assistant Professor Siena College
2013 - 2013 Visiting Instructor of Biology St. Olaf College
2013 - 2015 Postdoctoral Fellow Louisiana State University

Current Research

My research focuses on the evolutionary history of tropical mammals, particularly the factors associated with their diversification. I use genomic, biogeographic, and ecological data to connect population-level processes to macroevolutionary patterns. My work focuses on small mammals. So far, I've studied the evolutionary history of marsupials, rodents, and shrews from South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Articles & Book Reviews

  • A new climbing shrew from Sulawesi highlights the tangled taxonomy of an endemic radiation
    Journal of Mammalogy, vol. 100
    2019
  • A new genus and species of shrew (Mammalia: Soricidae) from Palawan Island, Philippines
    Journal of Mammalogy, vol. 99
    2018
  • Geographic isolation and elevational gradients promote diversification in an endemic shrew on Sulawesi
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, vol. 118
    2018
  • Isolation by marine barriers and climate explain areas of endemism in an island rodent
    Journal of Biogeography, vol. 45
    2018
  • Retrotransposons are the major contributors to the expansion of the Drosophila ananassae Muller F element
    G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, vol. 7
    2017
  • Local endemism and within-island diversification of shrews illustrate the importance of speciation in building Sundaland mammal diversity
    Molecular Ecology, vol. 25
    2016
  • Drosophila Muller F Elements Maintain a Distinct Set of Genomic Properties Over 40 Million Years of Evolution
    G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, vol. 5
    2015
  • Phylogeny, phylogeography and geographical variation in the Crocidura monax (Soricidae) species complex from the montane islands of Tanzania, with descriptions of three new species
    Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, vol. 174
    2015
  • The Challenges of Resolving a Rapid, Recent Radiation: Empirical and Simulated Phylogenomics of Philippine Shrews
    Systematic Biology, vol. 64
    2015
  • The impact of Quaternary climate oscillations on divergence times and historical population sizes in Thylamys opossums from the Andes
    Molecular Ecology, vol. 24
    2015
  • Hidden diversity in the Andes: comparison of species delimitation methods in montane marsupials
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, vol. 70
    2014
  • The role of physical geography and habitat type in shaping the biogeographical history of a recent radiation of Neotropical marsupials (Thylamys: Didelphidae)
    Journal of Biogeography, vol. 41
    2014
  • Species limits and phylogenetic relationships in the didelphid marsupial genus Thylamys based on mitochondrial DNA sequences and morphology
    Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, vol. 346
    2010
  • The phylogenetic position of the rodent genus Typhlomys and the geographic origin of Muroidea
    Journal of Mammalogy, vol. 90
    2009

Books & Book Chapters

  • Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 7: Rodents II
    Lynx Edicions
    2017