Dr. Jason Strickland's Research

Areas of interest

·      Adaptive evolution
·      Genotype-phenotype mapping
·      Venom evolution
·      Genetics
·      Herpetology
My research group is interested in understanding how changes in the genome modify the phenotype and ultimately affect fitness. We use a combination of fieldwork, lab work, and computation to identify changes in gene sequence and regulation to understand how selection shapes trait evolution. We use venom as our model system because of the near 1-to-1 match from gene to toxin, high intra- and inter-specific variation, and ecological importance in feeding and defense. Using genomic sequencing technologies and approaches, it is possible to examine the functionality of phenotypes down to single mutations in the genome. We take these data and place them in a meaningful ecological and evolutionary framework by accounting for variability within species across the landscape and controlling for shared evolutionary history to understand how biodiversity is generated through adaptation. To accomplish our research goals, we draw from many fields including biogeography, bioinformatics, ecological modeling, molecular genetics, phylogenetics, phylogeography, and population genetics.

Recent publications

Holding, M.L., Trevine, V.C., Zinenko, O., Strickland, J.L., Rautsaw, R.M., Mason, A.J., Hogan, M.P., Parkinson, C.L., Grazziotin, F.G., Santana, S.E. and Davis, M.A., 2022. Evolutionary allometry and ecological correlates of fang length evolution in vipers. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 289(1982), p.20221132.

Myers, E.A, J.L. Strickland, R.M. Rautsaw, A.J. Mason, T.D. Schramer, G.S. Nystrom, M.P. Hogan, S. Yooseph, D.R. Rokyta, and C.L. Parkinson. De novo genome assembly highlights the role of lineage-specific duplications in the evolution of venom in Fea’s Viper. Genome Biology and Evolution 14: evac082. Featured Cover https://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evac082 

Neri-Castro, E., J.L. Strickland, R.A. Carbajal-Márquez, J. Zuñiga, R. Ponce-López, F. Olvera, and A. Alagón. Characterization of the venom and external morphology of a natural hybrid between Crotalus atrox and Crotalus mictlantecuhtli. Toxicon 207: 43-47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2022.01.003 

Colis-Torres, A. E. Neri-Castro, J.L. Strickland, A. Olvera-Rodríguez, M. Borja, J. Calvete, J. Jones, C.L. Parkinson, J. Bañuelos, J. López de Leóon, and A. Alagón. Intraspecific venom variation of Mexican West Coast Rattlesnakes (Crotalus basiliscus) and its implications for antivenom production. Biochimie 192: 111-124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biochi.2021.10.006   

Grünwald, C., S. Toribio-Jiménez, C. Montaño-Ruvalcaba, H. Franz-Chávez, M. Peñaloza-Montaño, E. Barrera-Nava, J. Jones, C. Rodriguez, I. Hughes, J.L. Strickland, and J.R. Velasco. Two new species of snail-eating snakes of the genus Tropidodipsas (Serpentes, Dipsadinae) from western Mexico, with notes on related species. Herpetozoa 34: 233-257.  https://doi.org/10.3897/herpetozoa.34.e69176 

Media Coverage:

Long Known to Snails, New Snake Species ID'd by Thomas Becnel at USA https://tinyurl.com/2p8p75aa

Hofmann, E.P., R.M. Rautsaw, A.J. Mason, J.L. Strickland, and C.L. Parkinson. Duvernoy’s gland transcriptomics of the Plains Black-Headed Snake, Tantilla nigriceps (Squamata, Colubridae): Unearthing the venom of small rear-fanged snakes. Toxins 13: 336. Editor’s Choice Award

Holding, M.L., J.L. Strickland, R.M. Rautsaw, E.P. Hofmann, A.J. Mason, M.P. Hogan, G.S. Nystrom, S.A. Ellsworth, T.J. Colston, M. Borja, G. Castañeda-Gaytán, C.L. Grunwald, J.M. Jones, L. Freitas-de Sousa, M.J. Margres, F.G. Grazziotin, I.L.M. Junqueira-de-Azevedo, A.M. Moura-da-Silva, E. Hingst Zaher, H.L. Gibbs, D.R. Rokyta, and C.L. Parkinson. Phylogenetically diverse diets favor more complex venoms in North American pitvipers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118: e2015579118. doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2015579118

Media Coverage:

Researchers find snake venom complexity is driven by prey diet: https://tinyurl.com/3neym7ad 

Margres, M.J., R.M. Rautsaw, J.L. Strickland, A.J. Mason, T. Schramer, E.P. Hofmann, E.E. Stiers, D. Bartlett, T.J. Colston, D.M. Gilbert, D.R. Rokyta, and C.L. Parkinson. A simple venom phenotype from a complex genotype: insights from the Tiger Rattlesnake genome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118: e2014634118.

Media Coverage:

Genetic research on highly venomous Tiger Rattlesnakes breaks new ground:  https://tinyurl.com/2t9hcy24 

Exploration of toxic Tiger Rattlesnake venom advances use of genetic science techniques: https://tinyurl.com/2p8mppwy 

Bénard-Valle, M., E. Neri-Castro, N. Elizalde-Morales, A. Olvera-Rodríguez, J.L. Strickland, G. Acosta, and A. Alagón. Protein composition and biochemical characterization of venom from Sonoran Coral Snakes (Micruroides euryxanthus). Biochimie 182: 206-216. doi.org/10.1016/j.biochi.2021.01.003 

Rautsaw, R.M., T.D. Schramer, R. Acuna, L.N. Arick, M. DiMeo, K.P. Mercier, M. Schrum, A.J. Mason, M.J. Margres, J.L. Strickland, and C.L. Parkinson. Genomic adaptations to salinity resist gene flow in the evolution of Floridian watersnakes. Molecular Biology and Evolution 38: 745-760. doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msaa266 Featured Cover 

Ponce-López, R., E. Neri-Castro, M. Borja, J.L. Strickland and A. Alagón. Neutralizing potency and immunochemical evaluation of an anti-Crotalus mictlantecuhtli experimental serum. Toxicon 187: 171-180. doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2020.08.026

Mason, A.J., M.J. Margres, J.L. Strickland, D.R. Rokyta, M. Sasa, and C.L. Parkinson. 2020. Trait differentiation and modular toxin expression in Palm-Pitvipers. BMC Genomics 21:1-20.
Rautsaw, R.M., E.P. Hofmann, M.J. Margres, M.L. Holding, J.L. Strickland, A.J. Mason, D.R. Rokyta, and C.L. Parkinson. 2019. Intraspecific sequence and gene expre­ssion variation contribute little to venom diversity in Sidewinder Rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerastes). Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286: 20190810. doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.0810 Featured Cover Article
Neri-Castro, E., B. Lomonte, M. Valdés, R. Ponce-López, M. Bénarde-Valle, M. Borja, J.L. Strickland, J.M. Jones, C.I. Grünwald, F. Zamudio, and A. Alagón. 2019. Venom characterization of the three species of Ophryacus and proteomic profiling of O. sphenophrys unveils Sphenotoxin, a novel Crotoxin-like heterodimeric B-neurotoxin. Journal of Proteomics 192:196-207. doi.org/10.1016/j.jprot.2018.09.002
Strickland, J.L., C.F. Smith, A.J. Mason, D.R. Schield, M. Borja, G. Castaneda-Gaytan, C.L. Spencer, L.L. Smith, A. Trapaga, N.M. Bouzid, G. Campillo-Garcia, O.A. Flores Villela, D. Antonio-Rangel, S.P. Mackessy, T.A. Castoe, D.R. Rokyta, and C.L. Parkinson. 2018. Evidence for divergent patterns of local selection driving venom variation in Mojave Rattlesnakes (Crotalus scutulatus). Scientific Reports 8:17622. doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-35810-9.

Media Coverage: Mojave Rattlesnakes’ life-threatening venom is more widespread than expected by Hannah Halusker https://news.clemson.edu/mojave-rattlesnakes-life-threatening-venom-is-more-widespread-than-expected/ 

Picked up by Top of Mind with Julie Rose on BYU radio – Sound: https://tinyurl.com/y2j7usp2 
Sigma Xi, Science Daily, LiveScience, NSF Science 360, and Phys.Org 
Borja, M., E. Neri-Castro, J.L. Strickland, R. Ponce-López, C.L. Parkinson, J. Espinosa-Fematt, J. Sáenz-Mata, E. Flores-Martínez, A. Alagón, G. Castañeda-Gaytán. 2018. Ontogenetic change in the venom of Mexican Black-tailed Rattlesnakes (Crotalus molossus nigrescens). Toxins 10:501. doi.org/10.3390/toxins10120501
Hofmann, E.P., R.M. Rautsaw, J.L. Strickland, M.L. Holding, M.P. Hogan, A.J. Mason, D.R. Rokyta, and C.L. Parkinson. 2018. Comparative venom-gland transcriptomics and venom proteomics of four Sidewinder Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerastes) lineages reveal little differential expression despite individual variation. Scientific Reports 8:15534. doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-33943-5
Dahn, H.A., J.L. Strickland, A. Osorio, T.J. Colston, and C.L. Parkinson. 2018. Hidden diversity within the depauperate genera of the snake tribe Lampropeltini (Serpentes, Colubridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 129:214-225. doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2018.08.018
Strickland, J.L., A.J. Mason, D.R. Rokyta, and C.L. Parkinson. 2018. Phenotypic variation in Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) venom is driven by four toxin families. Toxins 10:135. doi:10.3390/toxins10040135
Borja, M., E. Neri-Castro, G. Castañeda-Gaytán, J.L. Strickland, C.L. Parkinson, J. Castañeda-Gaytán, R. Ponce-López, A. Olvera- Rodríguez, A. Alagón, and R. Pérez-Morales. 2018. Biological and proteolytic variation in the venom of Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus from Mexico. Toxins 10:35. doi:10.3390/toxins10010035
Strickland, J.L., S. Carter, F.K. Kraus, and C.L. Parkinson. 2016. Snake evolution in Melanesia: origin of the Hydrophiinae (Serpentes, Elapidae) and the evolutionary history of the enigmantic New Guinean elapid Toxicocalamus. Zoological Journal of Linnean Society 178:663-678. doi: 10.1111/zoj.12423
Strickland, J.L., C.L. Parkinson, J.K. McCoy, and L.K. Ammerman. 2014. Phylogeography of Agkistrodon piscivorus with emphasis on the western limit of its range. Copeia 2014:639-649. doi: 10.1643/CG-13-123.
For Full listing visit Jason's google scholar page or lab website

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Venomous archipelagos: Integrating adaptability and island biogeography theory to assess persistence in the Anthropocene. National Geographic Research and Exploration Grant with Dr. Mark Margres (University of South Florida).

Dr. Jason Strickland's Research
Office: LSCB 221B (within LSCB 222)
Lab: LSCB 222
Ph: 251-460-7310
Not currently seeking students but interested undergraduates and potential M.S. students are welcome to email to discuss future opportunities.