Research

Linking theory and application

Conservation strategies aimed at curtailing the loss of global biodiversity have largely focused on ecosystems, species, and populations, with little consideration to ecological and evolutionary processes. Because evolution generates and maintains adaptive variation, the preservation of evolutionary processes in natural populations is crucial to their long term persistence. Ensuring the maintenance of genetic diversity and connectivity among populations from across the range of habitats in which a species persists increases the capacity for evolutionary change. However, populations are not necessarily equivalent in their levels of genetic variation, or in their responses to future environmental conditions. Thus, understanding the magnitude and partitioning of genetic variation, and the evolutionary processes that influence these patterns, is an essential component of effective conservation strategies. Within this larger context, my research investigates the evolutionary processes and anthropogenic factors that influence contemporary patterns of genetic variation for anadromous fishes.

 

 

Key topics of my research include:

 

i) understanding how population demography, life history variation and human disturbance influence patterns of genetic variation;

 

ii) testing hypotheses of range expansion and colonization for non-native species and exploring the evolutionary ecology of non-native species in novel environments;

 

iii) developing practical conservation tools by incorporating evolutionary theory and processes in resource management

Bonneville shad

 

Figure: Typical life history cycle of anadromous herrings.

 

 

Bonneville shad

 

 

Bonneville Dam