Staff Scientist and Director of Education
Marine Conservation and Environmental Science
Ph.D., Yale University, Evolutionary Biology, 1994
B.A., Amherst College, Geology, 1986
My lab utilizes molecular genetic techniques to investigate questions related to the ecology, conservation, and evolution of marine organisms. A central theme of my research is learning how environmental perturbations, either natural or human induced, alter the distribution, density, and presence or absence of marine flora and fauna. Current projects include population genetic analysis of spiny dogfish in the Gulf of Maine, assessment of eelgrass (Zostera marina) genetic diversity at donor and transplantation sites in Frenchman Bay, and acclimation versus adaptation of intertidal organisms at the Callahan Mine Superfund site. In addition, I am interested in the use of phylogenetic analyses to uncover patterns of evolution at several levels of the biological hierarchy. I recently used phylogenetics to reconstruct amino acid sequences of proteins at branch points within the evolutionary tree of vertebrates. As co-director of Maine INBRE outreach programs, each year I teach several courses that train undergraduates in a wide variety of molecular techniques.
Population, Conservation, and Environmental Genetics
My interests revolve around population, conservation, and environmental genetics. As an evolutionary biologist, I use phylogenetic reconstruction to investigate genomic and species level phenomena. Recent studies include paternity and population genetic analysis of Squalus acanthias, gene regulatory effects of chronic low Ca2+ levels in brook trout, and using phylogenetic techniques to reconstruct amnio acid sequences of ancestral, vertebrate nuclear receptors. Students in my lab receive training in basic molecular biologic and bioinformatic techniques.