Areas of interest
- Development and application of cutting-edge phylogenetic statistical software packages including: BayesTraits, BEAST, R
- Bioinformatics processing of large sequences including downloading and alignment plus post-processing in other software such as PAML, HyPhy etc.
- Programming languages for biological analysis including R, Python, Perl
- Statistical analyses
Research projectsA unifying theme of all my research is the development, application and integration of contemporary phylogenetic statistical approaches to answering key evolutionary questions. My interests are primarily involved in macro-evolutionary biology, particularly involving large-scale evolutionary trends and patterns. I am also interested in looking at the effects of incorporating extinct and extant diversity into studies of evolutionary biology and ecology.
BackgroundI completed my MSc at the University of Hull where I focused on understanding the characteristics that are likely to have driven the success of mammalian biological invaders such as the grey squirrel. I then moved to the University of Reading where I completed my PhD studying macro-evolutionary biology, including the evolution of mammalian body size. I then completed (as of August 2020) an Early Career Fellowship funded by the Leverhulme Trust at the University of Reading which sought to detect genotype-phenotype links across evolutionary scales. This led me to investigate the factors - both ecological and genetic - that have driven brain size, testes size, and eye shape evolution across all vertebrates. In September 2020 I will be starting on a new project seeking to understand the history of extinct hominins such as Neanderthals and Denisovans, hoping to cast a light on the evolutionary path leading to our own species.
Awards and honours
In 2016, I was the Environment theme PhD student researcher of the year at the University of Reading. I have been invited to teach workshops on phylogenetic comparative methods at all levels, from undergraduate to academics. Organised (along with co-organizers from the University of Cambridge) a symposium at ESEB in Turku, Finland titled "Gene-Phenotype associations across evolutionary scales".
- Bruno C Genevcius, Joanna Baker & Filipe M Bianchi. "Female-driven intersexual coevolution in beetle genitalia" Accepted for publication in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology
- Joanna Baker and Chris Venditti. "Rapid change in mammalian eye shape is explained by activity pattern." Current Biology. (Available Online) doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.02.017 [journal]
- Joanna Baker, Stuart Humphries, Henry Ferguson-Gow, Andrew Meade, and Chris Venditti. "Rapid decreases in relative testes mass among monogamous birds but not in other vertebrates." Accepted in Ecology Letters. [journal] [Times Article: paywall] [Daily Mail Article] [inews Article]
- Joanna Baker, Andrew Meade, Mark Pagel, and Chris Venditti. "Positive phenotypic selection inferred from phylogenies." Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 18, no. 1 (2016): 95-115. [journal]
- Richard M. Sibly, Joanna Baker, John M. Grady, Susan M. Luna, Astrid Kodric-Brown, Chris Venditti, and James H. Brown. "Fundamental insights into ontogenetic growth from theory and fish." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112.45 (2015): 13934-13939. [journal]
- Isabella Capellini, Joanna Baker, William L. Allen, Sally E. Street, and Chris Venditti. "The role of life history traits in mammalian invasion success." Ecology letters 18, no. 10 (2015): 1099-1107. [journal]
- Joanna Baker, Andrew Meade, Mark Pagel, and Chris Venditti. "Adaptive evolution toward larger size in mammals." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, no. 16 (2015): 5093-5098 [journal] [atlas of science summary]
- Genevcius, B. , Baker, J. , Bianchi, F. , Marvaldi, A. (2020) Female-driven intersexual coevolution in beetle genitalia. Journal of Evolutionary Biology , 33 (7). pp. 957-965. ISSN: 1010-061X | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jeb.13627
- Venditti, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-6776-2355 , Baker, J. ORCID: 0000-0003-4904-6934 , Benton, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-4323-1824 , Meade, A. , Humphries, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-9766-6404 (2020) 150 million years of sustained increase in pterosaur flight efficiency. Nature , 587 pp. 83-86. ISSN: 0028-0836 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2858-8
- Baker, J. , Humphries, S. , Ferguson-Gow, H. , Meade, A. , Venditti, C. (2020) Rapid decreases in relative testes mass among monogamous birds but not in other vertebrates. Ecology Letters , 23 (2). pp. 283-292. ISSN: 1461-0248 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.13431
- Baker, J. and Venditti, C. (2019) Rapid change in mammalian eye shape is explained by activity pattern. Current Biology , 29 (6). pp. 1082-1088. ISSN: 0960-9822 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.02.017
- Capellini, I. , Baker, J. ORCID: 0000-0003-4904-6934 , Allen, W. , Street, S. , Venditti, C. , eds. (2015) The role of life history traits in mammalian invasion success. In: Wiens, J. , (eds.) Ecology Letters , 18 (10). pp. 1099-1107. ISSN: 1461-023X | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.12493
- Baker, J. ORCID: 0000-0003-4904-6934 , Meade, A. , Pagel, M. , Venditti, C. (2015) Adaptive evolution toward larger size in mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 112 (16). pp. 5093-5098. ISSN: 0027-8424 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1419823112
- Sibly, R. , Baker, J. ORCID: 0000-0003-4904-6934 , Grady, J. , Luna, S. , Kodric-Brown, A. , Venditti, C. , Brown, J. (2015) Fundamental insights into ontogenetic growth from theory and fish. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 112 (45). pp. 13934-13939. ISSN: 0027-8424 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1518823112