I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia and a Canada Research Chair in Biodiversity Theory and Informatics.

I am fascinated by life’s variety and seek general explanations for how it arose and how it is maintained. A basic premise of my research is that these two aims are interdependent: what we see today is the result of ecological and evolutionary processes operating in concert across ‘deep time’. In my research, I build theory, statistical methods, and computational tools to investigate how the interactions of these processes have played out over history. I have a particular fondness for phylogenetic trees, the historical pattern of branching that connects organisms to one another, and work to understand what these can tell us about the long-term dynamics of evolutionary change. To complement this work, I also develop general informatics tools for handling, manipulating, and sharing biodiversity data.

Contact me at pennell@zoology.ubc.ca