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6200 Bayshore Rd.
Oregon, OH 43616
Great Lakes Genetics Lab
Dr. Amanda Haponski (Ph.D. June 2013, Ph.D. student in GLGL 2008-2013)
Now: Post-doctoral Researcher
My research interests include phylogeography, population genetics, systematics, ecology and natural history of marine and freshwater fishes.
I received my master’s degree from the University of Toledo in December of 2007 and decided to continue on for my Ph.D. in Carol Stepien’s lab that I recently completed in June 2013. My research has utilized a combination of genetic markers and traditional morphological characters. My master’s thesis focused on the Greenside Darter (Etheostoma blennioides Rafinesque 1819) and determined the taxonomic status of its subspecies. I also conducted a study with a local high school teacher Mr. Tim Bollin, which examined the genetic variation of the Rainbow Darter Etheostoma caeruleum. My Ph.D. entitled “Evolutionary, biogeographic, and population genetic patterns of walleye and other Sander: Relationships across continents, corridors, and spawning sites” focused on walleye (Sander vitreus), an important commercial fishery species. My dissertation research uniquely addressed relationships of walleye to other members of the genus Sander, the taxonomic status of the extinct blue pike, and contemporary vs. historic genetic patterns. I also participated in the National Science Foundation's GK-12 program from 2008-2010 and was paired again with Mr. Tim Bollin from the Toledo Early College High School. He and I co-instructed a Science Research course focused on water quality of the Toledo Area. In this course students developed and carried out independent research projects and presented their results at local science fairs. I also was featured in the Siscowette, a publication focusing on female scientists in the Great Lakes.
Lindsey R. Pierce (Ph.D. August 2013, Ph.D. student in GLGL 2008-13)
Aquaculture genetics, fish conservation genetics/genomics, epidemiology, nutrigenomics, virology.
I received my master’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in July of 2008. While presenting my thesis results at an annual American Fisheries Society meeting, I became interested in the research conducted in Dr. Carol Stepien’s Great Lakes Genetics/Genomics Laboratory. I began my Ph.D. with Dr. Stepien in 2008 studying a fin-fish pathogen that emerged in the Laurentian Great Lakes in 2003. My Ph.D. dissertation “The Evolution and Detection of the Fish Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus (VHSv)” was completed in August of 2013, which focused on the evolutionary patterns and detection of the four VHSv strains. I worked with Dr. Stepien on the evolution portion of the project, where we found that VHSv follows a quasispecies model of evolution (i.e., new viral variants radiate outward in a star-like pattern from an ancestral sequence). To develop a new rapid, accurate, and sensitive diagnostic to detect and quantify the virus, we partnered with Dr. James Willey of the University of Toledo’s Medical Campus who holds the patent for the original “StaRT-PCR” assay. Results from our evolution and detection studies were published as three separate manuscripts, with a fourth currently in preparation. During my time as a Ph.D. student, I presented our research at several national and international meetings, where I won two best paper and best presentation awards. Other awards include the International Association of Great Lakes Research Scholarship and the best Women in STEMM award. I also participated in the National Science Foundation's Gk-12 program where I assisted Mrs. Kathleen Singler from Ottawa Hills and Mrs. Paulette Cole from Toledo Early College High School to assist students in developing and carrying out independent research projects for science fair. Additionally, I mentored students in creating a fun hands-on game that demonstrated the co-evolutionary dynamics between pathogens and their hosts.
Great Lakes fisheries, population and conservation genetics, fish ecology
I have had a lifelong passion for fish (see my articles published in UT News and The Blade on fishing in the Ottawa River), which has led me to pursue a career in fisheries research. I received my B.S. in Biology at Grand Valley State University (2005-2009), and then completed my M.S. in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University (2010-2012) as a member of the Quantitative Fisheries Center. My Ph.D. research with Dr. Stepien at the University of Toledo has two primary components: (1) I am investigating the population genetics of invasive silver and bighead carps across their invasive ranges in North America, and (2) I am developing a next-generation sequencing assay to identify and quantify relative abundances of any Great Lakes fish species, including high-risk potential invasive species, from a sample of water using environmental DNA (eDNA). The latter is funded by a USEPA GLRI grant to Dr. Stepien and Dr. Von Sigler. I also received a NOAA CILER scholarship award to fund my stipend for the eDNA work, as well as an IAGLR Scholarship award. I already have presented my early results at the AFS 2013 conference in Little Rock Arkansas, at IAGLR 2013 conference in Purdue University IN, and at the 2013 International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species in Niagara Falls. I also have had a great time sampling for the Asian carps!
Ecology, marine biology, limnology, evolution, conservation genetics/genomics
Love and appreciation for the natural environment has lead me to pursue a career as a biologist. I received my B.S. in Ecology from San Francisco State University. During my time as an undergraduate, I worked as a student researcher on population genetics and the spread of adaptive lateral plate loss and reduction in Central California populations of threespine stickleback. Generally, I am interested in the spatial and temporal scales of evolution, contemporary evolution, and conservation genetics. I have a goal of helping to fulfill the pressing need for the application of genetics to conservation and management of native and invasive species by conducting high quality research in my areas of interest. My research in Dr. Stepien’s lab will help me realize this goal. This work involves quantification of round goby eDNA and population genetics of the invasive round goby in the Great Lakes across spatial and temporal scales.
I received my B.A. in Biology from Adrian College. After graduating, I worked at a research laboratory in Eugene, Oregon, and then I served as senior Lab Manager in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Medical University of Ohio (now the University of Toledo Medical Center). I joined the GLGL team in 2012 as a DNA Research Assistant.