I am an aquatic and evolutionary ecologist. My research interests combine evolutionary ecology with environmental genetics/genomics and paleogenetics/genomics. Specifically, I am interested in the effects of environmental change (e.g. temperature, pollution) on the genetic diversity and structure of populations and communities on a spatio-temporal scale, using a multidisciplinary approach that integrates methods used in paleolimnology, environmental genetics/genomics, and resurrection ecology. Current research includes NextGeneration RAD sequencing using DNA of historic and extant Daphnia populations spanning the past ~1600 years to study genome-wide modifications in relation to environmental change (eutrophication).
My current research focuses on questions at the interplay between population genetics and ecological genetics. Specifically, I am interested in the population structure and genetic diversity of populations within a shared community and how these aspects of the population relate to stoichiometeric conditions and overall fitness. This research will focus on communites of Daphnia populations in Lake Texoma and the surrounding region.
Ph.D., 2009. Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC) and University of Seville, Spain
TITLE: Environmental adaptation of the genome: A Daphnia model under cultural eutrophication
ABSTRACT: Organisms, including man, play an important role in ecosystem processes. However, little work has examined how man-made environmental changes affect the way organisms evolve and adapt to modified ecosystems. The aim of the project is to explore the evolutionary mechanisms involved in local adaptation of species to anthropogenic environmental changes. We will assess how cultural eutrophication (i.e., nutrient enrichment of freshwater systems) influences evolutionary changes in organisms using a multidisciplinary approach involving population genetics, genomics, and palaeo-genetics. Particularly, we will focus on genes from pathways involved in the handling of phosphorous (P) in natural populations. The model chosen is the waterflea Daphnia sp. With this project we expect to find changes in the genotypic composition and physiological mechanisms both over time (i.e., between populations resurrected from dormant egg banks at different dated layers in sediment cores) and over space (i.e., between extant populations inhabiting lakes that differ in eutrophication history). Our main objectives are: 1) Characterize neutral genotypes and those under selection from cores and extant populations within each lake; and 2) Find natural genotypes differentially-adapted to low and high carbon (C:P) levels, via genomic (transcriptome) tracking. This multidisciplinary approach represents an original way to tackle problems of great evolutionary, ecological and economical importance. Particularly, cultural eutrophication is a major ecological concern of increasing importance due to the direct implications for humans. The IOF-Marie Curie project involves two high quality institutions, University of Oklahoma (UO) and Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). Other international collaborations with the UO Biological Station (UOBS), Daphnia Genomics Consortium (DGC), and Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics (CGB) will be established.
Graduate Research Assistant - NSF-IOS-OEI project
RECIPIENT OF BIOLOGICAL STATION GRADUATE SUMMER RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP 2012
Research: invasion biology, community ecology, and zooplankton ecology
RECIPIENT OF BIOLOGICAL STATION GRADUATE SUMMER RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP 2011 and 2012
Research: ecology of aquatic invasives, zebra mussels and Harris mud crabs
RECIPIENT OF BIOLOGICAL STATION GRADUATE SUMMER RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP 2010
My research interests include most aspects of fish ecology and fish community ecology. I graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Zoology from the Unversity of Oklahoma. Following this I completed my M.S. in forest resources (with a focus on fish ecology) under Gary Grossman at the University of Georgia. This research focused on the effects of turbidity on fish foraging. For my Ph.D. with David Hambright, I am researching the toxic and lethal effects of golden algae (Prymnesium parvum) on fishes. I also enjoy anything to do with Sooner football.
Undeclared grad student
Research: indirect effects of golden algal toxins to lake food webs, environmental regulation of toxin stability