Evolutionary and Conservation Genomics of Tree Populations

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. Here is a list of major ongoing and recent projects in our lab.

  • Valley Oak Genome Project (NSF-PGRP)
  • Epigenetic studies of valley oak: Quercus lobata
  • Landscape genomic studies of various tree species
  • Ecological genomics of valley oak
  • Phylogeography of valley oak
  • Phenology of valley oak trees at Sedgwick Reserve
  • Landscape genetics and California oak species
  • Phylogeny and hybridization in California oaks
  • Phylogeography of the lace lichen
  • Pollen and seed dispersal studies


Contact Information

Victoria L. Sork

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
University of California Los Angeles
Office: 4139 Terasaki Life Sciences Building
610 Charles E. Young Drive East
Los Angeles, California 90095-7239 USA

Phone: 310-825-4959,


Faculty Website