Adj Asst Professor
Offices and Labs
|2012||PhD||Ecology||University of California Davis|
|2006||MS||Wildlife Genetics||Purdue University|
|2003||BS||Biology, Chemistry Minor||Hillsdale College|
Genetic tools to improve management/conservation of fish and wildlife species
My group uses genetic and genomic tools to answer questions that directly influence the management and conservation of North American fish and wildlife species. We are particularly interested in the conservation of native California fishes such as delta smelt, sturgeon, and salmonids although we also study invertebrates, amphibians, and mammals. Much of this research is conducted collaboratively with state, tribal, or federal agency biologists, providing students with opportunities to work directly with conservation practitioners.
Improving conservation and commercial aquaculture to protect wild populations
Aquaculture is a tool that can be used to sustain endangered fish populations directly through release of captive reared fish into the wild (conservation aquaculture) or indirectly by providing an alternative source of fish protein to meet human demand (commercial aquaculture). My group applies genetics/genomics to improve the management of captive fish populations for conservation and commercial aquaculture. We conduct ongoing genetic monitoring of captive breeding programs for delta smelt and white sturgeon. We also are studying the costs and benefits of spontaneous autopolyploidy to the white sturgeon commercial aquaculture industry.
Autopolyploidy in Acipenseriform fishes
Acipenseriform fishes (sturgeon and paddlefishes) are ancient polyploids that can spontaneously triploidize in aquaculture. Spontaneous autopolyploid white sturgeon are fertile and produce viable offspring when crossed with normal conspecifics. We know that the additional genome copy is due to retention of the second polar body during meiosis but its not clear what is causing some females to produce large numbers of triploid offspring in captivity while spontaneous autopolyploidy in the wild is rare. We are conducting experiments to determine what factors are responsible for high rates of second polar body retention as well as evaluating how genome duplication affects sexual development of spontaneous autopolyploids and their offspring. We are also interested in using families containing even ratios of normal and spontaneous autopolyploid offspring to determine how an incipient polyploidization event affects genome structure and function.
Environmental DNA Applications
Environmental DNA (eDNA), or DNA extracted from environmental samples such as water, sediment, or soil, can be used to measure biodiversity (metabarcoding) and detect rare or cryptic species in the wild. We are collaborating with several resource management agencies to develop protocols and genomic tools to improve monitoring of rare species, such as the delta smelt, using eDNA.
Department and Center Affiliations
CBS Grad Group Affiliations
Specialties / Focus
- Population and Quantitative Genetics
- Ecological and Wildlife Genetics
Graduate Groups not Housed in CBS
See our projects page (http://gvl.ucdavis.edu/projects/) for a more detailed description of our current projects and our publications page (http://gvl.ucdavis.edu/publications/) for a list of the lab's recent publications.