New Director of Center for Environmental Studies named
February 1, 2017
Dr. Robert M. Tombes, Vice Provost for Life Sciences and Research at Virginia Commonwealth University, recently announced Dr. Rodney Dyer as director of the Center for Environmental Studies (CES). Dr. Dyer held the position of assistant director of the Center for Environmental Studies for the past two years, and has been a member of the VCU faculty since he began in 2004 as assistant professor in Biology.
Dr. Dyer’s vision for CES is to produce quantitatively skilled practitioners of environmental sciences. Approximately 70 CES students graduate annually, with graduates enjoying one of the highest rates of job-related placements.
“Dr. Dyer is a world-renowned quantitative population geneticist whose creative teaching and scholarship are pioneering and perfectly aligned with the integrative nature of CES and Life Sciences,” stated Dr. Tombes. “I am grateful for the groundwork laid by his predecessor, Dr. Greg Garman, who will now focus on the growth of research at our field station, the Rice Rivers Center.”
A botanist by training, Dr. Dyer’s research focuses on population genetics and the impact that intervening landscape features have on genetic connectivity. He has mentored 11 graduate students in Masters programs in CES and Biology, and the Integrative Life Sciences doctoral program. The vast majority of that graduate work has been conducted at the Rice Rivers Center.
Dr. Dyer continues his phylogeographic work in Baja California, examining how coevolving plant and insect systems respond after climatic changes following the Pleistocene. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). He also has received NSF funding to study terrestrial genetic connectivity along urban gradients from Richmond, Virginia, to Rice Rivers Center in Charles City, Virginia, using flowering dogwood as a model system. Dr. Dyer is a strong believer in Open Source research and publishing; his authored textbooks, “Landscape Genetic Data Analysis” and “Applied Population Genetics,” are both available without charge at his website, dyerlab.com.