Russell Dinnage

Research Assistant Professor

Biological Sciences, Institute of Environment

Office: OE 221

Phone: 305-348-2201


Biology Expertise : Ecology, Evolutionary biology, Populations and Communities, Structure and Function

Institute of Environment Expertise: Terrestrial Ecology, Biodiversity, Conservation, Evolution Adaptation


I am an Research Assistant Professor in the Institute of Environment. I work in the area of computation ecology and evolutionary biology.

From a biological perspective, my past and future work is focused on understanding eco-evolutionary systems, and I use computational tools that I develop to ask these questions (largely in R, but also Python or Julia). 

An eco-evolutionary system is a system with contemporaneously interacting individuals which are connected invisibly and to varying degrees through a set of evolutionary processes that has occurred over possibly long periods of time. Much of my work also has a conservation or restoration focus. I am interested in how advanced computational and statistical methods can help preserve communities of irreplaceably organisms and the evolutionary history they represent.

Within this very broad umbrella, my past work falls into several sub-categories, which I list below along with one or two representative publication:


Research Areas

1) Phylogenetic Comparative Methods - How species' traits are are determined by their evolutionary history (and contemporary interactions).

  • Dinnage, R., Skeels, A., & Cardillo, M. (2020). Spatiophylogenetic modelling of extinction risk reveals evolutionary distinctiveness and brief flowering period as threats in a hotspot plant genus. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 287(1926), 20192817. 
  • R packages: phyf and fibre

2) Phylogenetic Community Ecology - How long term evolutionary processes constrains and shapes the interactions of coexisting communities of species.

  • Dinnage, R., Cadotte, M. W., Haddad, N. M., Crutsinger, G. M., & Tilman, D. (2012). Diversity of plant evolutionary lineages promotes arthropod diversity. Ecology letters, 15(11), 1308-1317.

3) Species Distribution Modelling - How species' biology determines their interaction with the environment and each other, while taking into account their evolutionary connections (including spatial processes)

  • Li, D, Dinnage, R, Nell, LR, Helmus, MR, Ives, AR. phyr: An r package for phylogenetic species-distribution modelling in ecological communities. Methods Ecol Evol. 2020; 11: 1455– 1463.
  • Warren, D.L., Matzke, N.J., Cardillo, M., Baumgartner, J.B., Beaumont, L.J., Turelli, M., Glor, R.E., Huron, N.A., Simões, M., Iglesias, T.L., Piquet, J.C. and Dinnage, R. (2021), ENMTools 1.0: an R package for comparative ecological biogeography. Ecography, 44: 504-511.


4) Cultural Comparative Analysis - How the evolutionary connections between human cultures can be used, estimated and/or accounted for when asking contemporary question about human behaviour and culture. This is largely driven by collaborations with linguists and cultural evolution specialists, since I am a biologist by training, but the methods we use have a lot of overlap!


5) Simulation and Theoretical EEB - Understanding the processes involved in eco-evolutionary systems and their long-term outcome and consequences.

  • Dinnage, R., Sarre, S. D., Duncan, R. P., Dickman, C. R., Edwards, S. V., Greenville, A., ... & Gruber, B. (2021). * slimr: An R package for integrating data and tailor-made population genomic simulations over space and time. bioRxiv, 2021-08. 
  • Associated R package: slimr

* Preprint