Martha Burford Reiskind

martha_burfordCurrent Position:  Assistant Professor, Coordinator of Academic Programs in Applied Ecology, Department of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University

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  • BS University of California, Berkeley
  • MS San Francisco State University
  • PhD University of California at Santa Cruz (2007)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Cornell University 2007-2010

I am investigating adult population structure and the structure of a new year-class within Sebastes mystinus (blue rockfish) and Sebastes atrovirens (kelp rockfish) over multiple temporal and spatial scales. If genetic structure is found in either or both parts of the life history, comparisons between the genetic structure of settling juveniles and adults could reveal different mechanisms such as pre-settlement genetic drift or natural selection, post-settlement selection, or local retention in the population I am using microsatellite markers to assess the population genetic structure of these two species. For blue rockfish I am also assessing the phylogeographic structure of the population using mtDNA.
Blue and kelp rockfish are non-migratory inhabitants of kelp and rocky reef habitats along the California coast with a pelagic larval and juvenile stage lasting approximately four and two months (respectively). My preliminary results showed the blue rockfish adults were genetically homogeneous over large distances (approximately 900km). Analyses of five polymorphic microsatellite loci indicated no significant divergence in allele frequencies in the adult population (F ST = -0.0004). In contrast, juvenile allele frequencies were significantly heterogeneous among distant locations (F ST = 0.01), but homogeneous among adjacent locations (F ST = 0.0001). The effective population size was estimated at approximately 80,416, dependent on assumed mutation rates. Given the ubiquitous nature and high fecundity of this species, the effective population size is probably much less than the actual population size. These results suggest that, despite a genetically homogenous adult population, newly-settled recruits are genetically heterogeneous in time and space along the California coast.