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Projects

PhylogeneticsOne of the main ares of study in the lab is a broad phylogenetic analysis of evolutionary relationships among the lineages of euteleost fishes.  We are part of a multi-institutional collaborative supported by the Assembling Tree of Life program of NSF.  At the UAF Ichthyology lab, we are particularly interested in better understanding the sequence of the earliest branching events that led to major extant euteleost lineages.  We use variation in nuclear gene DNA sequences as the source of information from which to infer hypothesis of phylogeny.
Population geneticsMac Campbell and Veronica Padula are conducting population genetic studies of Alaskan freshwater fish species.  Mac is near completion of his thesis research on the phylogeography and genetic variability in the Dallia pectoralis (the Alaska blackfish).  Veronica is examining the relationship between geography and genetic variability in Coregonus sardinella (the least cisco). Zach Goeden is establishing baseline information on the genetic variability in Arctic grayling in Alaska.
Species boundaries / introgressionEmily Lescak and Robert Marcotte are studying different aspects of the genomic signatures of divergence and introgression.  Emily's focus is on the genomic signature of divergence between recently formed freshwater populations of Gasterosteus aculeatus (the three-spined stickleback) and the ancestral marine stock.  Robert is studying the divergence between closely related species of whitefish in Alaska with the goal of understanding the extent and genetic consequences of hybridization among them.
Local herpetological knowledge Joshua Ream is using an integrative approach to study the distribution and abundance trends of amphibians and reptiles in SE Alaska.  His study includes faunal surveys, interviews with local communities and ethnographic research. An overarching goal of this work is to generate a thorough understanding of SE Alaskan herpetological diversity and its relationship to local communities.
Mentorship of undergraduate studentsWe strive to provide opportunities for UAF undergraduates and Fairbanks high-school students to gain hands-on experience relevant to careers in biology and fishery science.  We have hosted students from the Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI) program every summer starting in 2009 to provide them with an intensive research experience centered on the use of information from genetics to better understand different aspects of fish biology.
 Collection building The UAM fish collection (catalog database) serves as a resource for studies of fish biology and as a reference documenting the diversity of fishes from Alaska and adjacent regions.  To maintain and further develop the value of this resource, we partner with agencies and researchers to continually improve the representation of species and populations in the collection's holdings.  In 2012, Andres Lopez joined scientists on the RUSALCA 2012 census cruise to increase the number of specimens and vouchered tissue samples from Chukchi Sea species in the collection.