The overall research goal of the Group is to determine the interaction between the environment, species biology and genetic population structure. Species traits, such as dispersal ability and environmental tolerances, determine population size and diversity as well as connectivity among populations. On the other hand, past and present microevolutionary processes affect aspects of species biology, such as productivity, physiology and reproductive success, and thus species distribution and adaptability. In pursuing this overarching goal, the research program of the Group has developed along three principal themes:
- The investigation of drivers of genetic population structure in marine species, not only for the identification of self-recruiting populations as units for management and conservation, but also to pinpoint mechanisms of dispersal demographic variability. We mainly work on Pacific herring, Pacific cod, rockfish and Pacific halibut.
- The quantification of reproductive success, dispersal and gene flow, primarily in anadromous salmonids, with the aim to identify primary causal mechanisms leading to phenotypic diversity and divergence. This research concentrates on steelhead and sockeye salmon, but we have also worked on brown rockfish in Puget Sound.
- The examination of mutation mechanisms, patterns of variability and statistical analyses of molecular data, in order to improve their interpretation in a biological context.
In our research, we always keep in mind the practical applications of our findings. We therefore collaborate extensively with scientists and managers at local, state and federal agencies, as well as with other stakeholder groups. This doesn’t only make our science more relevant, but also provides students in the group with contacts and experience in applied management.
You can find brief summaries of some projects on this webpage, organized by study species, because many project incorporate several of the above aims: