Dr. Andrea Schreier

Photo of Andrea Schreier

Position Title

  • Department of Animal Science
Meyer 2235



Ph.D. 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 a few 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.

Assembling a complex polyploid genome to vertebrate whole genome duplication (WGD) and diploidization: Previous attempts to sequence the white sturgeon genome using typical short read methodologies have been unsuccessful due to the highly duplicated nature of the species’ polyploid genome. In collaboration with Matt Settles and Jessie Li at the UC Davis Bioinformatics Core, I am using the “linked reads” approach of the 10X Genomics Gemcode platform to sequence and assemble a male white sturgeon genome. I will use these data to begin answering questions about gene fates after WGD and the process of diploidization in the sturgeon lineage. Data will also be pooled with long read sequencing data collected by Scott Blankenship of Cramer Fish Sciences to begin development of a reference genome sequence for the white sturgeon.

Sacramento perch population genetics and development of a captive breeding plan: We are re-evaluating genetic diversity and patterns of population structure in Sacramento perch, including waters in which perch have been sampled for the first time. These data will be used to inform a captive breeding plan for this species, under development by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

DNA barcoding of federally threatened valley elderberry longhorn beetle (VELB): We are collaborating with other UC Davis researchers to develop a diagnostic genetic marker that will differentiate the endangered VELB from a non-endangered subspecies, the California elderberry longhorn beetle. The diagnostic marker will be used to identify the origin of exit holes in areas where subspecies distributions overlap. This will improve the accuracy of US Fish and Wildlife survey methods for the rare and cryptic elderberry longhorn beetles.

Population genetics and inbreeding in the endangered San Fernando Valley spineflower: The endangered San Fernando Valley spineflower is only found in two isolated locations in southern California. We are developing SNP markers to examine genetic diversity and population structure within and among locations. We will also use these markers to do parentage analysis and estimate inbreeding coefficients in greenhouse experiments to evaluate inbreeding depression.

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 Coulter counter analysis are 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.

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 the causes of this phenomenon in culture. We are also measuring the reproductive development, sex ratio, growth performance, and stress physiology of normal (8N) white sturgeon, spontaneous autopolyploid (12N) individuals, and their 10N progeny 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.






Recent Peer Reviewed Publications (*mentored student)

Thorstensen, M.*, P. Bates, K. Lepla, and A. Schreier. 2019. To breed or not to breed? Maintaining genetic diversity in white sturgeon supplementation programs. Online early in Conservation Genetics.

Fiske, A.*, J. Van Eenennaam, A. Todgham, S. Young, C. Holem-Bell, A. Goodbla, A. Schreier. 2019. A comparison of methods for determining ploidy in white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus). Aquaculture 507:435-442.

Leal, M. J., J. P. Van Eenennaam, A. D. Schreier, A. E. Todgham. 2019. Triploidy in white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus): effects of acute stress and warm acclimation on physiological performance. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology 229:10-17.

Leal, M., B. E. Clarke, J. P. Van Eenennaam, A. D. Schreier, and A. E. Todgham. 2018. The effects of warm temperature acclimation on constitutive stress, immunity, and metabolism in white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) of different ploidies. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 224:23-34.

Kirsch J. E., R. F. Feeney, A. Goodbla, C. Hart, Z. J. Jackson, A. Schreier, and R. Smith. 2018. The First Record of the Large-scale Loach Paramisgurnus dabryanus (Cobitidae) in the 3 United States. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 9(1):246-254.

Gille, D. A.*, J. P. Van Eenennaam, T. R. Famula, A. D. Schreier, K. Beer, P. Struffenegger, B. Renschler, S. Bishop, and S. I. Doroshov. 2017. Finishing diet, genetics, and other culture conditions affect ovarian adiposity and caviar yield in cultured white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus). Aquaculture 474:121-129.

Clark, Lindsay V. and A. Drauch Schreier. 2017. Resolving microsatellite genotype ambiguity in populations of allopolyploid and diploidized autopolyploid organisms using negative correlations between alleles. Molecular Ecology Resources. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12639.

See the Publications page for additional papers I’ve co-authored and pdfs.


Selected Limited Distribution Publications

Schreier, A., J. Van Eenennaam, and Paul Anders. 2018. A management plan for spontaneous autopolyploidy in cultured white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) in Lower Columbia and Snake River impoundments. Report to the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Portland, OR. 24 pp.

Thorstensen, M. and A. Schreier. 2017. A comparison of genetic diversity and number of breeders represented by broodstock and repatriation sampling of white sturgeon in the Bliss to C.J. Strike Reach of the Snake River. Report to Idaho Power Company, Boise, ID. 21 pp.

Coen, A., and A. Schreier. 2017. Using non-invasive genetics to compare how a California highway affects gene flow in a disturbance-averse versus a disturbance-tolerant species. Report to the National Center for Sustainable Transportation, Davis, CA. 21 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.