I have broad interests in the fields of avian systematics, evolution, biogeography, and population biology. In my research, I use molecular genetic techniques to address questions concerning avian evolution. My current research projects explore avian evolution at two temporal scales: shallow and deep history. First of all, my primary research focus is the comparative phylogeography of pine-oak birds in western North America. This research is designed to answer questions concerning the recent (shallow) evolutionary history of birds in North America, which has been a topic of much debate in recent years. The goal of this study is to elucidate phylogeographic patterns in co-distributed bird species in pine-oak habitats to identify shared or idiosyncratic responses to past evolutionary forces (such as, vicariance or isolation and population bottlenecks). My work on this project has also spawned an interest in the genetic dynamics of avian hybrid zones. To explore the deep evolutionary history of birds, I use molecular phylogenetics to analyze the evolutionary relationships of birds at or above the species level.
C.M. Anderson, G.M. Spellman, C. Ferrell, K. Strickler, and S.K. Sarver. In Press. Conservation genetics of American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus): the genetic status of a population in severe decline. Conservation Genetics. DOI 10.1007/s10592-007-9429-5
J. Klicka, K. Burns, and G.M. Spellman. In Press. Defining a monophyletic Cardinalini: A molecular perspective. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.
G.M. Spellman and J. Klicka. 2007. Phylogeography of the White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis): diversification in North American pine and oak woodlands. Molecular Ecology 16(8), 1729-1740.
G.M. Spellman, B. Riddle, and J. Klicka. 2007. Phylogeography of the Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli): diversification, introgression, and expansion in response to Quaternary climate change. Molecular Ecology, 16, 1055-1068.
J.M. DaCosta, G.M. Spellman, and J Klicka. 2007. Bilateral Gynandromorphy in a White-ruffed Manakin (Corapipo altera). The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 119: 290-292.
J. Klicka and G. M. Spellman. 2007. A molecular evaluation of the North American “grassland” sparrow clade. The AUK 124:537-551.
G.M. Spellman and J. Klicka. 2006. Testing hypotheses of Pleistocene population history using coalescent simulations: phylogeography of the pygmy nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea). Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B. 273: 3057-3063.
J. Klicka, G. Voelker, and G.M. Spellman. 2005. A systematic revision of the true thrushes (Aves: Turdinae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34:486-500.
G. Voelker and G.M. Spellman. 2004. Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA evidence of polyphyly in the avian superfamily Muscicapoidea. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30(2):386-394.