Dr. Amanda (Mandi) Finger


Position Title
Associate Director

  • Department of Animal Science
Department of Animal Science, Meyer Hall


B.S., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Santa Cruz, 2003

Ph.D., Graduate Group in Ecology, UC Davis, 2012

I am interested in how populations change over time in a conservation context. I enjoy collaborating with agency biologists and other researchers using a range of molecular tools to understand and manage threatened and endangered species. Some of these species include California native trout, desert fishes, Delta smelt, and longfin smelt. Among the technologies my students and I use are next generation sequencing, SNP assays, and microsatellites. Please see research interests below for more details on some of my projects.

Research Projects

Vernal Pool fairy shrimp conservation and biodiversity using eDNA

Population genetic structure of longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys) from California to Alaska using RADsequencing

Using RAD-seq to inform the reintroduction of the threatened Paiute cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii seleniris)

Using genomic data and 10 years of pedigree analysis to understand domestication selection in an intensively managed conservation hatchery for Delta Smelt

Genetic structure and diversity within and among Relict Dace (Relictus solitarius) populations (in collaboration with Nevada Department of Wildlife and US  Fish and Wildlife Service)

Past Research

Conservation genetics of the Arroyo chub (Gila orcuttii)

Genetic analysis of Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi) in the Walker Basin, California and Nevada

Using genetic parentage analysis to examine mating strategies of Delta smelt in a conservation hatchery (in collaboration with the FCCL)

Conservation genetics of the Owens pupfish (Cyprinodon radiosus) (in collaboration with California Department of Fish and Wildlife)

Conservation genetics of the Lahontan tui chub (Siphateles bicolor ssp.) (in collaboration with Nevada Department of Fish and Wildlife)



In prep/internal review/submitted

Habibi, E., Rodzen J., Sanders, L., Stephens M. Gille, D., Auringer, G., Miller, M., Finger, A. J., "Genomics Facilitates Evaluation and Monitoring of McCloud River Redband Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss stonei) (submitted to Conservation Genetics April 2021).

Benjamin, A., Saglam, I.K., and Finger, A.J. Population genetic structure and variation in an isolated threatened desert fish: the Relict Dace (planned submission to PLoS One August 2021).

Campbell, M. A., Rodzen, J., Stephens, M. R., Auringer, G., and Finger, A. J. Polyphyly of the Sacramento Redband Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss stonei and the Description of a New Rainbow Trout from the McCloud River (submitted to Copeia April 2021).


Ellison, L., Hsueh, C-H., Sandford, M., Finger, A. J., Schultz, A., Hung, T-C., Size, fecundity and condition factor changes of endangered Delta Smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) over 10 generations in captivity. (Submitted to Aquaculture Reports May 2021).


Kieran S. R., Hull, J., Finger, A. J. (2021) Environmental DNA sampling provides new management strategies for vernal pool branchiopods in California. PLoS One (pdf)

Saglam, I. K., Hobbs, J., Baxter, R., Lewis, L., Benjamin, A., and Finger, A. J. (2021) Genomic study of longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys) in the northeastern Pacific reveals regional patterns of genetic drift, structure, and gene flow. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. (pdf)

Finger, A.J., Gille, D. A., Kwan, N. Baerwald M. (2020) Diary of a Wimpy Fish: How to grow up in a Conservation Hatchery and Survive in the Real World. Frontiers for Young Minds (pdf)

Kieran S. K.*, Hull, J. and Finger, A. J. (2020) Using environmental DNA to monitor the spatial distribution of the California Tiger Salamander Ambystoma californiense. Journal of Wildlife Management. (pdf)

Mahardja, B., Hobbs, J.A., Ikemiyagi, N., Healey, B., Benjamin, A., and Finger, A.J. (2019) Role of freshwater floodplain-tidal slough complex in the persistence of the endangered delta smelt. PLoS ONE 14(1): e0208084. (pdf

Lessard, J., Cavallo, B., Anders, P., Sommer, T., Schreier, B., Gille, D., Schreier, A., Finger, A., Hung, T-C., Hobbs, J., May, B, Schultz, A, Burgess, O., Clarke, R. (2018) “Considerations for the Use of Captive-Reared Delta Smelt for Species Recovery and Research”. San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science, 16(3):Article 3 https://escholarship.org/uc/item/3jt4h7ct

Finger, A.J., Mahardja, B.M., Benjamin, A., Lindberg, J., Ellison, L., Fisch, K., Hung, T-C., May, B.P. (2018) Evidence of domestication selection in a conservation hatchery for Delta Smelt. Journal of Heredity, 109(6):689-699). (pdf)

Peacock, Mary M, Neville Helen M, and Finger, A. J. (2018) The Lahontan Basin Evolutionary Lineage of Cutthroat Trout, Special Workshop on Cutthroat Trout Taxonomy. In: P. Trotter, P. Bisson B. Roper and L. Schultz, editors. Cutthroat Trout evolutionary biology and taxonomy. American Fisheries Society Special Publication, Bethesda Maryland. (link)

Benjamin, A., Saglam, I.K., Mahardja, B., Hobbs, J., Hung, T-C., and Finger A.J. (2018) Use of single nucleotide polymorphisms identified backcrossing and species misidentifications among three San Francisco Estuary Osmerids. Conservation Genetics (pdf)

Saglam, I., Prince, D. J., Ali, O., Miller, M. R., Meek, M.H., Neville, H., Peacock, M. Mellison, C., Somer, W., May, B. P., and Finger, A.J. (2017) Genomic analysis reveals evolutionary distinctiveness of Paiute Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii seleniris). Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 146:1291-1302 (pdf)

Finger, A. J., Schumer G., Benjamin, A., and Blankenship S. (2017) Evaluation and interpretation of genetic effective population size of Delta Smelt from 2011-2014. San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science, 15(2)Article 5. (http://escholarship.org/uc/item/4109064c)

Benjamin, A., O’Brien, J., May, B., and Finger, A. J. (2016) Conservation genetics of an urban desert fish: the Arroyo chub (Gila orcuttii). Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 145(2):277-286 (pdf)

Lew, R. M., Finger, A. J., Baerwald, M. R., Goodbla, A., May, B. and Meek, M. H. (2015) Using next-gen sequencing to assist a conservation hatchery: A SNP panel for the genetic management of endangered Delta Smelt. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 144:767–779 (pdf)

LaCava M., Lindberg, J.L., Fisch, K. M., May, B. P. and Finger, A. J. (2015) Spawning behavior of cultured delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus). North American Journal of Aquaculture 77(3): 255-266. (pdf)

Finger, A. J. and May, B. P. (2015) Conservation genetics of a desert fish species: The Lahontan tui chub (Siphateles bicolor ssp.). Conservation Genetics, 16:743-758. (pdf)

Finger, A. J., Parmenter, S. P. and May, B. P. (2013) Conservation of the Owens Pupfish: Genetic effects of multiple translocations and extirpations. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 142:1330-1443. (pdf)

Finger, A. J., Anderson, E. A., Stephens, M. R., and May, B. P. (2011) Application of a method for estimating effective population size and admixture using diagnostic SNPs: Implications for conservation of threatened Paiute cutthroat trout in Silver King Creek, California. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 68:1369-1386. (pdf)

Finger, A. J., Stephens, M. R., Clipperton, N. C. and May B. P. (2009) Characterization of Six Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms Distinguishing Lahontan and Paiute cutthroat trouts. Molecular Ecology Resources 9:759-763. (pdf)

Finger, A. J., Fishes of the Tuolumne River, book chapter in Confluence v1.0 eds. Jeffrey Mount, Sabra Purdy. University of California press, creative commons licensing. (V. 1.0). http://watershed.ucdavis.edu/tuolumne/resources/ConfluenceTuolumneV1.pdf.