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Current and past members

Graduate students:


Thaddaeus Buser
M.S. student, Fisheries
I am primarily interested in the evolutionary biology and systematics of fishes. I find the diversification of North Pacific cottids especially fascinating and that is what I plan to study here in Alaska. I also enjoy teaching and have taught at every level from kindergarten to college. My ultimate goal is to teach and do research as a professor at a university.


Matthew A. Campbell, M.S.
Ph.D. student, Biology
My research interests include fish population genetics, phylogeography, systematics, and theoretical aspects of phylogenetics.  The thesis work I do at UAF is on the population genetics and phylogeography of blackfish (Dallia).  This genus of the pike family (Esociformes: Esocidae) is restricted in distribution to Beringia, which is unique among primary freshwater fishes.  The distinct characteristics of this genus, including air-breathing, combined with paleogeography have produced a particular genetic signature.  Our research has produced many insights into the effects of glaciations on freshwater fish fauna in Beringia and the taxonomic status of populations of Dallia.   


Emily A. Lescak
Ph.D. student, Fisheries
I am interested in applying next-generation sequencing technology to questions of parallel evolution and speciation in young populations of Gasterosteus aculeatus (three-spined stickleback) from Prince William Sound and Middleton Island.


Robert Marcotte

M.S. student, Fisheries
Research: Establishing the relationship between the sister species Arctic and Bering cisco.
Research interests: establishing population structure, species ranges, definitive morphology, and potential for hybridization of the two species using genetic tools in an ecological framework.


Veronica Padula
M.S. student, Fisheries
I am interested in the population genetic structure of Least cisco (Coregonus sardinella), and how the landscape of the Arctic Coastal Plain affects their population genetic structure. These species encounter highly variable and stochastic environmental conditions on many spatial and temporal scales. Changing climate in the Arctic is increasingly noticeable and is producing substantial and rapid changes in Arctic fish habitat. Further investigation is necessary to better understand population status, resolve the genetic relationships within the species, and better understand how the landscape affects connectivity among populations. My project focuses on characterizing the dynamics of gene flow within the Least cisco population in the context of rapid change in landscape caused by a transforming climate. Ultimately I hope to pursue a career as an educator at the college and graduate level.


Joshua T. Ream
Ph.D. student, Applied Ecological Anthropology
As a doctoral student in Applied Ecological Anthropology and a fellow of the IGERT Resilience and Adaptation Program (RAP), my research is interdisciplinary in nature. I am currently interested in and pursuing research related to Tlingit and Haida relationships to non-game species, particularly herpetofauna in Southeast Alaska. This gives me the unique opportunity to ethnographically document and preserve culture for future generations but also to utilize Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in the pursuit of biological data and improved management practices. Additionally, I am working to expand baseline data for Alaska's amphibians and reptiles which is presently scant and incomplete.

 Undergraduate students:

Ethan Buchinger
Biology B.S. (graduating May 2015)
Currently I am studying to get my Bachelors in Biology and am considering going on for my Masters.  I am interested in various types of biological research and plan on it being the center of my career. I am particularly interested in invasive fishes and the migrating and spawning behaviors of Sea Lamprey. I am intrigued by the many facets of genetic research that I have been exposed to.
Rachel DeWilde
Biology B.S. (graduating Spring 2014)
Right now I'm working on my BA in Biology, with which I plan on pursuing my Masters degree in genetics. After finishing school I hope to work on Alaskan wildlife genetics and distribution.

Past lab members:

Kristen Sparling
Biology B.S. (graduated spring 2012)
I'm from Oakland, CA. I'm a bio major. My favorite things to do are go snowboarding,travel, play pool,go fishing and camping and pretty much anything outdoors.


Courtney Nichols

Biology B.S. (graduated spring 2011)
Beginning graduate studies in Spring 2012 at UAF.
I am a biological sciences undergraduate planning on earning a Ph.D in a biomedical research field, most likely genetics or physiology, in the future.