In addition to their undesirable qualities, species invasions can provide sweeping natural experiments in ecology and evolution. I'm interested in using invasive species to examine populations' capacity to adapt to novel environments. Using the globally invasive European green crab, I'm comparing thermal physiology, gene expression, and gene sequence variation between populations spread across three parallel thermal gradients. My goal is to integrate these data into a picture of how a widespread marine species survives and thrives across a broad temperature range. More generally, these results will provide insight into the mechanisms by which species adapt to rapid environmental change.
When you buy seafood, how confident are you that you're getting what you paid for? Once fish is filleted or otherwise processed, it's often difficult to be sure of its species. Seafood mislabeling is a widespread and serious issue, since it can constitute economic fraud, pose public health risks, and threaten precarious fisheries. Luckily, a little DNA can ground-truth the labels. I'm exploring this on two fronts: a global meta-analysis of seafood forensics results, and a survey of the seafood products in two major supermarket chains.
Some species are globally invasive, with no link between sources and secondary populations. Knowing where they've come from can help to target specific invasion sources and pathways to limit future introductions. While working as a contractor for the US EPA, I used two types of genetic marker to reconstruct the invasion history of the European green crab.
New Zealand evolved a staggering diversity of bird species, many of which have become extinct or endangered due to introduced species. In the past century, an ambitious and remarkably successful conservation strategy has been put in place to protect its remaining species. However, there have been growing concerns that this conservation strategy, which often relies on founding insular populations with a handful of individuals, may have far-reaching genetic consequences. During my master's degree, I examined inbreeding in two species with different demographic histories as part of the Threatened Bird Research Group.