Researchers in the Sork lab conduct research throughout California and western North America from Baja California through Alaska. For our work on California oaks, we acknowledge the Chumash, Tongva, and other Native peoples of California as the traditional caretakers of the land where we study and for their past and ongoing stewardship of oaks and oak ecosystems of California. We acknowledge all Native peoples of western North America for their stewardship of the land, habitats, and species of this region.
The evolution of local adaptation shapes the genetic and phenotypic variation that determines the survival of tree populations. A question today is how are long-lived species going to survive the human induced rapid environmental changes induced by ecosystem modification and climate change. My research team is developing the iconic California signature tree, valley oak (Quercus lobata), as a model tree system to study how trees can tolerate such rapid changes. We are also conducting a variety of ecological, genetic and genomic projects to better understand how natural selection and gene flow influence ecological and evolutionary dynamics of tree populations. Major ongoing and recent projects in our lab relate to the genotype, phenotype and landscape genomics of these tree systems, as well as include the Valley Oak Genome Project. You can find more information about each inside the research section.
Victoria Sork is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles. If you are interested in joining the lab, I would love to hear from you! Please visit the join tab to learn more about current opportunities.