UMass Amherst Conservation Genetics Lab

My lab performs both applied conservation genetics research and research that tests and develops basic evolutionary theory. We conduct conservation genetics studies of a variety of taxa.  This research consists of three principal themes, all of which have both applied conservation and basic research importance.  My overarching research goal is to link genetic factors with other aspects of an organism’s biology, life-history, and demography to help predict population persistence. More specifically, we conduct research that aims to understand: 1) spatial patterns of an organism’s genetic diversity, 2) effective population size as a predictor of persistence probability, 3) whether translocation is an effective practice to enhance persistence probabilities (“genetic rescue”), and 4) adaptive dynamics and mechanisms. We also develop and test general tools that will help advance the field of conservation genetics and be used to help conserve a wide variety of taxa.

Part of the funding for the lab comes from the US Forest Service, Northern Research Station.  We are conducting (a) a long-term individual-based study of brook trout in western Massachusetts (along with the USGS Conte Lab), (b) an analysis of recently isolation populations of brook trout in Virginia, and (c) research on the effects of road culverts on movement patterns of eastern North American fish species.

Brook trout from West Brook, Massachusetts. Bottom photo by Maili Page