Research Associates & Postdocs
Areas of Expertise:
I am a new postdoc at the International Arctic Research center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Currently, I am funded through the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative. Environmental DNA (eDNA) is genetic material shed by organisms in their natural environment. It is possible to use eDNA to detect species of interest in ecosystems. I use environmental DNA techniques to both (1) study the declining salmon runs that have caused severe hardship in subsistence communities within the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (AYK) region and (2) quantify clam abundance that has been a hardship to the intertribal Chugach Regional Resources Commission and scientists at the Alutiiq Pride Marine Research Institute. I will use a previously published quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay to detect salmon. I plan to develop an assay for clam eRNA.
The detection of eDNA, using qPCR, needs to be statistically validated. I will fit statistical models to predict daily salmon passage using eDNA concentrations. The outcomes of the research aim to inform tribal members of salmon abundance in the Kuskokwim River Basin. For quantification of eRNA, experiments will be run at the Alutiiq Pride Marine Research Institute to quantify and differentiate between larvae, juveniles and adults.
To ensure the information is reaching stakeholders, I develop teaching materials that will effectively communicate the initial goals, objectives, as well as the outcomes of each research project. I am interested in efforts in Alaska in the field of community based research using environmental DNA.