These trainees have moved on to other things.....and this is what they are up to now!
Genomic impacts of hybridization between domestic and wild American mink
Supervisors: Jeff Bowman and Paul Wilson
CREATE Program: 2015-17
Thesis defended April 2017
Parameter estimation of vertebrate populations using retrospective (capture-recapture modeling) and prospective (simulation or matrix modeling) techniques
Supervisor: Paul Wilson
CREATE Program: 2017
Thesis title: De novo transcriptome assembly, functional annotation, and SNP discovery in North American flying squirrels
Supervisors: Jeff Bowman and Paul Wilson
CREATE Program: 2016-18
Thesis defended May 2018
Project Description: While a CREATE trainee, I studied the interface of population ecology and landscape genetics to help identify and mitigate threats to the long-term viability of small-mouthed salamander (Amystoma texanum), whose entire Canadian population is restricted to Pelee Island, in southwestern Ontario. I also worked on investigating the factors that shape the predator’s functional response and developing eDNA techniques to monitor Canadian amphibians. During this time, I mentored and trained other CREATE trainees and secured an NSERC PDF grant to ‘reconcile stable coexistence and “hybrid” superiority in populations of Amystoma salamanders’.
I am still associated with the Murray lab at Trent University (Dept. of Biology) but obtained my own Species at Risk funding to continue working with salamander populations on Pelee Island.
Project Description: I joined the CREATE program late in my PhD work, where I was assessing the effect of habitat fragmentation on contemporary pollen flow with paternity analysis of a forb species of concern (Pulsatilla vulgaris) in calcareous grasslands in Central Europe. During my time with CREATE, I worked on genotyping of P. vulgaris seed embryos with microsatellite markers, analyzing paternity with different software packages, analyzing GIS spatial data, and analyzing landscape genetic data.
In September 2016, I started a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Helsinki.
Research Project: My research focused on characterizing functional genes in American mink thought to be associated with traits affected by domestication. Through the analysis of these genetic markers I wanted to determine how ‘re-introduction’ events are affecting genetic diversity and observe if domestic mink functional genes are persisting in wild populations.
In July 2017, I worked as a Wildlife DNA Research Technician for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (Peterborough, ON) and then in March 2018, I started working as a Genomics Technician for the USDA Lab in Hawaii!
Research Interests: Much of my research involves parameter estimation of vertebrate populations using retrospective techniques, such as traditional and spatially explicit capture-recapture modeling, or prospective techniques, using simulations or matrix models. Because I frequently work with threatened species, the results from my research are often used to inform state, provincial, and federal conservation strategies.
While at Trent University, I co-authored a technical report for the Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development titled, Estimating boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) abundance in Alberta, Canada, using non-invasive sampling and capture-recapture methods (P.J. Wilson, M. Manseau, N Arnason and E.T. Hileman).
In November 2017, I took a position as a Research Ecologist at the Fort Collins Science Center (US Geological Service).
Research Project: My research focused on identifying functional genes being exchanged through introgressive hybridization between southern (Glaucomys volans) and northern flying squirrels (G. sabrinus) using Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology.
Professional Placement: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (Peterborough, ON).
In May 2018, I started working as a Natural Heritage & Invasive Species Biologist for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (Peterborough, ON).
Research Project: My research project integrated both remote sensing data (airborne LiDAR, TerraSAR-X, panchromatic and multi-spectral imagery) with small-scale (DNA-level) datasets to generate a robust model of a landscape and predict and model species’ distribution and dispersal for a small chorus frog (Pseudacris crucifer).
Professional Placement: Land Conservancy of Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox Addington (Kingston, Ontario)
In May 2018, I started my Ph.D. with Dr. Georgia Fotopoulos at Queen’s and am continuing in the CREATE Enviro program.
Research Interests: I am interested in the field of population genomics, with an emphasis on species conservation. While at Trent, I used whole genome markers to reconstruct the evolutionary history of multiple ecotypes of North American caribou, which is complicated by the glacial history of North America and introgression events between lineages after glacial retreat. I was also involved with researching why contemporary genetic distinctiveness is maintained among caribou ecotypes despite range overlap and known historical introgression.
In June 2018, I took a position as a Fisheries Geneticist at the Hagerman Genetics Lab with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission in Hagerman, Idaho.