Graduate Group in Ecology
University of California, Davis
Department of Animal Science
2403 Meyer Hall
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
BA (honors), Biology, Cornell University
MS (expected), Biology, San Francisco State University/Romberg Tiburon Center
Conservation genetics, molecular ecology, fish, crustaceans, aquatic food webs, marine ecology.
I am optimizing a method that uses DNA to detect endangered Delta Smelt in the San Francisco Estuary. Rare fish like Delta Smelt can be hard to monitor using traditional methods such as trawl sampling. However, fish can be detected using just a sample of water. Similar to forensic methods that sample trace amounts of DNA at a crime scene, we use a high-sensitivity DNA assay to detect Delta Smelt presence without directly sampling fish.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) detection may enable more targeted, less invasive, and less expensive monitoring of fish compared with traditional trawl sampling. Better detection of Delta Smelt could help inform conservation and water management strategies in California. In order for eDNA sampling to be used for monitoring, the methods must be validated. We are in the process of a series of experiments and field collections to validate and optimize eDNA detection of Delta Smelt.
I use genetic methods such as quantitative PCR (qPCR) and high-throughput sequencing (HTS) that have broad application in conservation and management of aquatic species and ecosystems. My MS research (Kimmerer Lab, San Francisco State/Romberg Tiburon Center) used HTS to study plankton food web interactions in the Cache Slough Complex of the San Francisco Estuary.
Interagency Ecological Program Annual Workshop (March 6-8, 2018), poster
Ecological Society of America (August 6-11, 2017), late-breaking poster session
Water Quality Health Indicator and Data Science Symposium, Cal EPA Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (June 29-30, 2017), invited presentation and poster
Interagency Ecological Program Annual Workshop (March 3, 2017), invited presentation
Bay Delta Science Conference (November 15, 2016), presentation and poster