430 Lincoln Drive, Birge Hall
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706
(608) 262-2675

Research at CORE

CORE is an institute dedicated to the study of rapid evolution. Many serious problems currently facing human societies and the environment are occurring on rapid time scales. Such problems include global warming, extinctions of species, invasions of alien species, evolution of infectious diseases, and threats to agricultural livestock and crop species from diseases and inbreeding. The study of rapid evolution is critical for gaining the tools to address such problems.

Scientists at the Center of Rapid Evolution (CORE) focus on these critical areas of research (see below). Research at this center includes the study of invasive species, conservation of endangered populations, evolutionary responses to genetically modified crops, crop to weed transfer of genes, genetics of microbial diversity, and evolution of organisms and communities in response to environmental fluctuations and disturbance.

Scientists at CORE are also actively involved in outreach efforts to inform and educate the public on how to use evolutionary insights to solve critical problems in conservation, medicine, and agriculture.


CORE is an Institute within the James F. Crow Institute for the Study of Evolution, housed within the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences (CALS) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The administrative home of both CORE and the JF Crow Institute is in the Laboratory of Genetics within CALS.


Charitable Donations to CORE:
contact Mara McDonald at <>

CORE News:

August 2013: The Lee Lab has completed sequencing the copepod genome and is in the process of assembly and annotation

A Special Symposium on Applied Evolution will be held on October 1-2, 2010 in Ebling Auditorium, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Professor Richard Lenski from Michigan State University will be speaking 3:30 pm, October 1, and a series of CORE scientists will be speaking 1-4 pm on October 2, followed by a panel discussion. Titles of talks will be posted soon.

09/07/2010: Carol Lee (and collaborator Joana Silva at Institute of Genome Sciences) has been awarded an NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity grant to study the metagenomic diversity of the copepod microbiome. The aquatic crustacean (copepod) could potentially serve as a vector for human disease, and the Lee Lab will uncover the undiscovered microbial diversity associated with the copepod.

08/12/2010: Carol Lee's lab has been awarded a Rapid Response award from the U.S. National Science Foundation to examine rapid evolutionary responses of the coastal copepod Eurytemora affinis to toxic effects of the Gulf Oil Spill.

11/19/2009: The James F. Crow Institute for the Study of Evolution is founded at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This institute will tie together more than 70 faculty members across seven colleges on campus. CORE will be housed as an institute within this institute.

06/25/2009: Cameron Currie's lab has been awarded the 10 gigabase sequencing grant from Roche Applied Sciences to sequence leaf-cutter ants and their associated fungi and bacteria. The objective is to gain insights into the microbial enzymes involved in helping ants convert cellulose an inedible material for most organisms to a useable source of fuel.

06/14/2009: Graduate student Suzanne Peyer in Carol Lee's lab has published her paper on zebra and quagga mussels this month. Her work is featured in

03/22/2009: A special Workshop on Synthesizing Ecology and Evolution for the Study of Invasions was held at Lake Tahoe March 19-22, 2009, and resulting papers have been published in the journal Evolutionary Applications.

03/22/2009: Tony Ives' Lab has published a paper on Species Response to Environmental Change: Impacts of Food Web Interactions and Evolution.

07/31/2008: See publication from the Lee Lab on the Evolutionary origins of invasive populations.


CORE Members (click on photo to access laboratory websites)


Carol Eunmi Lee
Director, Professor

Evolutionary genetics of invasive species

Mara McDonald

Mara McDonald
Assistant Administrator


Cameron Currie
Associate Professor

Ecology and evolution of symbiotic associations between animals and microbes

Tony Goldberg

Tony Goldberg

Evolution, Ecology, and Epidemiology of Health and Diseases


Anthony Ives

Community ecology and population biology, including crop-pest interactions


Donald Waller

Conservation ecology and genetics


Johanne Brunet
Associate Professor

Gene flow among populations of horticultural crop plants, and between crops and free-living plants

Nicole Perna

Nicole Perna
Associate Professor

Genome evolution of bacteria; evolution of pathogenicity


Thomas Givnish

Interface of ecology, evolution, systematics, and biogeography


John Doebley

Agricultural Genetics; Evolutionary genetics of corn (maize) and its wild relatives; evolution of form

Eve Emswhiller

Eve Emshwiller
Assistant Professor

Interactions between human cultures and plants, including economic botany; history of human impacts on the environment

Mark Berres

Mark Berres
Assistant Professor

Population genetics of avian populations; resistance to disease


Robert Bleiweiss
Associate Professor

Molecular evolution and systematics, bird plumage as toxicological indicators


Rick Lindroth

Trophic interactions; global environmental change; "Genes to Ecosystem" ecology


The Center of Rapid Evolution is an Institute within the: