I am an evolutionary biologist with a diverse background in molecular evolution, phylogenetics, morphometrics and genomics. My main study systems include members of the two biggest mammalian orders – bats and rodents – which are ideal for addressing a wide range of evolutionary questions regarding adaptive evolution. My research interests include studying convergent evolution (at both the morphological and molecular level) and specialisations of sensory systems. I am particularly interested in adopting integrated approaches that use multiple data sources to test hypotheses, and I enjoy learning new techniques in molecular biology as well as seeing my study species in the wild.
During my PhD I studied the origins of high-frequency hearing and echolocation in bats. This involved examining the molecular evolution of both protein-coding genes and non-coding regulatory elements (CNEs) associated with the functioning and/or development of the mammalian auditory system in bats. I also used µCT scans to study the minute structures of bat inner ears to look for adaptations relating to flight and echolocation.
I have continued to work on bats for my postdoctoral research. I am currently using comparative transcriptomics to study the molecular evolution of genes involved in the sensory systems of ecologically diverse Neotropical bats in collaboration with the Dávalos, Dumont and Sears labs. I have also performed genome-wide tests for adaptive evolution relating to underground life in African mole-rats, as well as other divergent lineages of subterranean mammals.
Preprints available online
1. LR Yohe, KTJ Davies, NB Simmons, KE Sears, ER Dumont, SJ Rossiter, LM Dávalos (2019) Targeted sequence capture outperforms RNA-Seq and degenerate-primer PCR cloning for sequencing the largest mammalian multi-gene family. bioRxiv, 607994, doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/607994
Publications: (+ equal contribution)
15. LR Yohe, KTJ Davies, SJ Rossiter, L Davalos (2019) Expressed vomeronasal type-1 receptors (V1rs) in bats uncover conserved sequences underlying social chemical signaling. Genome Biology and Evolution, evz179, doi: 10.1093/gbe/evz179
14. BP Hedrick, GL Mutumi, VD Munteanu, A Sadier, KTJ Davies, SJ Rossiter, KE Sears, LM Dávalos, E Dumont (2019) Morphological diversification under high integration in a hyper diverse mammal clade. Journal of Mammalian Evolution, 1–13
13. A Sadier+, KTJ Davies+, LR Yohe, K Yun, P Donat, BP Hedrick, ER Dumont, LM Dávalos, SJ Rossiter, KE Sears (2018) Multifactorial processes underlie parallel opsin loss in neotropical bats. eLife 7:e37412 doi: 10.7554/eLife.37412
12. KTJ Davies, NC Bennett, CG Faulkes, SJ Rossiter (2018) Limited evidence for parallel molecular adaptations associated with the subterranean niche in mammals: a comparative study of three superorders. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 35(10): 2544–2559
11. BP Hedrick, L Yohe, A Vander Linden, LM Dávalos, K Sears, A Sadier, SJ Rossiter, KTJ Davies, E Dumont (2018) Assessing soft-tissue shrinkage estimates in museum specimens imaged with diffusible iodine-based contrast-enhanced computed tomography (diceCT). Microscopy and Microanalysis 24(3): 284–291. doi: 10.1017/S1431927618000399
10. KTJ Davies (2017) Digest: Know your poison: Predictable molecular changes confer toxin resistance in snakes. Evolution 71 (6), 1728–1729
9. G Tsagkogeorga, MR McGowen, KTJ Davies, S Jarman, A Polanowski, MF Bertelsen, SJ Rossiter (2015) A phylogenomic analysis of the role and timing of molecular adaptation in the aquatic transition of cetartiodactyl mammals. Royal Society Open Science 2: 150156
8. KTJ Davies, NC Bennett, G Tsagkogeorga, SJ Rossiter, CG Faulkes (2015) Family-wide molecular adaptations to underground life in African mole-rats revealed by phylogenomic analysis. Molecular Biology and Evolution 32 (12): 3089–3107 doi: 10.1093/molbev/msv175
7. CG Faulkes, KTJ Davies, SJ Rossiter, NC Bennett (2015) Molecular evolution of the hyaluronan synthase 2 gene in mammals: implications for adaptations to the subterranean niche and cancer resistance. Biology Letters 11 (5): 20150185 doi:10.1098/rsbl.2015.0185
6. KTJ Davies, G Tsagkogeorga, SJ Rossiter (2014) Divergent evolutionary rates in vertebrate and mammalian specific Conserved Non-coding Elements (CNEs) in echolocating bats. BMC Evolutionary Biology 14: 261
5. KTJ Davies, G Tsagkogeorga, NC Bennett, LM Dávalos, CG Faulkes, SJ Rossiter (2014) Molecular evolution of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 receptors in long-lived, small-bodied mammals. Gene, 549(2):228–236
4. KTJ Davies, PJJ Bates, I Maryanto, JA Cotton, SJ Rossiter (2013) The evolution of bat vestibular systems in the face of potential antagonistic selection pressures for flight and echolocation. PLoS ONE 8(4): e61998. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061998
3. JD Kirwan, M Bekaert, JM Commins, KTJ Davies, SJ Rossiter, EC Teeling (2013) A phylomedicine approach to understanding the evolution of auditory sensory perception and disease in mammals. Evolutionary Applications, 6: 412–422
2. KTJ Davies, I Maryanto, SJ Rossiter (2013) Evolutionary origins of ultrasonic hearing and laryngeal echolocation in bats inferred from morphological analyses of the inner ear. Frontiers in Zoology, 10: 2
1. KTJ Davies, JA Cotton, JD Kirwan, EC Teeling, SJ Rossiter (2012) Parallel signatures of sequence evolution among hearing genes in echolocating bats: an emerging model of genetic convergence. Heredity, 108: 480–489