Andrea Schreier, Director

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Assistant Adjunct Professor
Director of the Genomic Variation Lab
Alumna of the Graduate Group of Ecology

(530) 752-0664

Meyer 2235
One Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616

Curriculum Vitae


PhD in Ecology, UC Davis, 2012

MS in Wildlife Genetics, Purdue University, 2006

BS in Biology (chemistry minor), Hillsdale College, 2003

Research Interests

My research program is three-pronged. I apply genetic and genomic tools to 1) improve management and conservation of fish and wildlife species, 2) understand the role of polyploidy in vertebrate evolution, and 3) improve aquaculture sustainability to protect our fisheries resources. I have been working with sturgeon species for over a decade and am particularly interested in their conservation, ecology, and evolution.

Research Projects

Here is a list of my current research projects.  For more information on each project, click on the bolded text.  Previous projects are archived on the Past Projects page.

Genetic and genome size monitoring of Kootenai River white sturgeon conservation aquaculture program: I use neutral markers to monitor genetic diversity loss in a conservation aquaculture program for an endangered white sturgeon population suffering from decades of recruitment failure. Genetic data are also used for identification of individual broodstock and parentage analysis.  Flow cytometry and blood smear analysis is used to quantify the prevalence of spontaneous autopolyploidy in each year class. Recent work has examined how post-stocking mortality has affected the genetic composition of juvenile white sturgeon released into the Kootenai River.

Estimating heritability of ovarian adiposity and caviar yield in cultured white sturgeon: Increasing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of commercial caviar production furthers sturgeon conservation goals by providing a sustainable alternative to wild-harvested caviar. Current white sturgeon caviar production is hindered by the incidence of ovarian adiposity in farm populations. Individuals with ovarian adiposity, or fatty ovaries, produce low yields of low quality caviar. Daphne Gille and I are collaborating with an interdisciplinary team of scientists to determine the influence of genetic and environmental factors on the ovarian adiposity trait. If found to be heritable, the identification of genetic markers associated with genes controlling this trait will aid in selective breeding to reduce its incidence in farm populations.

Determining the cause of spontaneous autopolyploidy in sturgeon culture and how it affects individual performance: We’ve found that 10-15% of white sturgeon produced in conservation and commercial aquaculture experience a genome duplication and possess 1.5x the amount of DNA in their cells than “normal” 8n white sturgeon.  We are conducting experiments to determine whether inadvertent oocyte aging causes this spontaneous autopolyploidy. We are also measuring the reproductive development, sex ratio, growth performance, and stress physiology of full sibling families containing both normal ploidy (8n) and spontaneous autopolyploid (12n) individuals to determine whether a larger genome affects survival and fitness.  Based on our findings, hatchery managers will be able to adapt their spawning and rearing practices to avoid production of or preferentially produce 12n sturgeon.

Examining the effect of California highways on movement and dispersal of coyotes: We are using non-invasive genetic techniques to determine whether four major highways in northern California (I-80, SR 50, I-580, I-680) act as barriers to mesopredator dispersal and gene flow using coyotes as a model.  Graduate student Amanda Coen is collecting coyote scat samples from either side of study reaches of each of these highways, extracting DNA, and genotyping each sample at a suite of microsatellite loci.  She will use landscape genetic techniques to determine whether coyotes are able to cross the highways and if so, whether they are able to reproduce successfully.  If these highways do act as barriers to coyotes, transportation agencies may consider mitigation efforts to restore mesopredator population connectivity.



Peer Reviewed Publications

Schreier, A., S. Stephenson, P. Rust, and S. Young.  Post-release genetic monitoring is necessary to evaluate genetic diversity conservation in captive and supportive breeding programs.  Submitted to Biological Conservation.

Gille, D. A., T. R. Famula, B. P. May, and A. D. Schreier.  2015.  Evidence for a maternal origin of spontaneous autopolyploidy in cultured white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus).  Aquaculture 435:467-474.

Schreier, A. D., B. May, and D. A. Gille. 2013. Incidence of spontaneous autopolyploidy in cultured populations of white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus. Aquaculture 416-417:141-145.

Drauch Schreier, A., B. Mahardja, and B. May. 2013. Variable patterns of population structure revealed across the range of the ancient octoploid white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 142(5):1273-1286.

Nelson, T. C., P. Doukakis, S. T. Lindley, A. Drauch Schreier, J. E. Hightower, L. R. Hildebrand, R. E. Whitlock, and M. A. H. Webb. 2013. Modern technologies for an ancient fish: tools to inform management of migratory sturgeon stocks. PLoS ONE 8(8):e71552.

Drauch Schreier, A., B. Mahardja, and B. May. 2012. Hierarchical patterns of population structure in the endangered Fraser River white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus, and implications for conservation. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 69:1968-1980.

Drauch Schreier, A., J. Rodzen, S. Ireland, and B. May. 2011. Genetic techniques inform conservation aquaculture of the endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus. Endangered Species Research 16:65-75.

Drauch Schreier, A., D. A. Gille, B. Mahardja, and B. May. 2011. Neutral markers confirm the octoploid origin and reveal spontaneous polyploidy in white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 27(Suppl 2): 24-33.

Anders, P., A. Drauch Schreier, J. Rodzen, M. Powell, and S. Narum. 2011. A review of genetic evaluation tools for conservation and management of sturgeons: Roles, benefits, and limitations. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 27(Suppl 2): 3-11.

Drauch, A. M., B. E. Fisher, E. K. Latch, J. A. Fike, and O. E. Rhodes, Jr. 2008. Evaluation of a remnant lake sturgeon population’s utility as a source for reintroductions in the Ohio River system. Conservation Genetics 9:1195-1209.

Börk, K. B., A. M. Drauch, J. A. Israel, J. K. Pedroia, J. Rodzen, and B. P. May. 2008. Development of new microsatellite DNA primers for green and white sturgeon. Conservation Genetics 9:973-979.

Fike, J. A., A. M. Drauch, J. C. Beasley, G. Dharmarajan, and O. E. Rhodes, Jr. 2007. Development of fourteen multiplexed microsatellite loci for raccoons (Procyon lotor). Molecular Ecology Notes 7: 525-527.

Drauch, A. M. and O. E. Rhodes, Jr. 2007. Genetic evaluation of the lake sturgeon reintroduction program in the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27(2): 434-442.

Selected Limited Distribution Publications

Schreier, A., O. Langness, and B. May. 2014. DPS Assignment and Non-Natal Estuary Preferences of SDPS and NDPS green sturgeon. Report to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Vancouver, WA. 25 pp.

Schreier, A., S. Brandl, and B. May. 2013. Snake River white sturgeon genetic management plan. Report to the Idaho Power Company, Boise, ID. 60 pp.

Israel, J., A. Drauch, and M. Gingras. 2009. Life history conceptual model for white sturgeon. Report to Bay Delta Ecosystem Restoration and Improvement Program, Sacramento, CA. 54 pp.