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Molecular Ecology Laboratory

Molecular ecology is the study of the earth and its ecosystems through genetic methods. The objectives of our research program are to: Identify and fill gaps in our knowledge about species and population diagnosis, biodiversity, and the health of wildlife and their habitats to inform decision making by management agencies and provide molecular science applications and protocols for our partners.


Dynamic landscapes in northwestern North America structured populations of wolverines (Gulo gulo)

Cyclic climatic and glacial fluctuations of the Late Quaternary produced a dynamic biogeographic history for high latitudes. To refine our understanding of this history in northwestern North America, we explored geographic structure in a wide-ranging carnivore, the wolverine (Gulo gulo). We examined genetic variation in populations across mainland Alaska, coastal Southeast Alaska, and mainland wes

Using next generation sequencing of alpine plants to improve fecal metabarcoding diet analysis for Dall’s sheep

ObjectivesDall’s sheep (Ovis dalli dalli) are important herbivores in the mountainous ecosystems of northwestern North America, and recent declines in some populations have sparked concern. Our aim was to improve capabilities for fecal metabarcoding diet analysis of Dall’s sheep and other herbivores by contributing new sequence data for arctic and alpine plants. This expanded reference library wil

Metabarcoding of environmental samples suggest wide distribution of eelgrass (Zostera marina) pathogens in the north Pacific

Seagrass meadows provide important ecological services to the marine environment but are declining worldwide. Although eelgrass meadows in the north Pacific are thought to be relatively healthy, few studies have assessed the presence of known disease pathogens in these meadows. In a pilot study to test the efficacy of the methods and to provide foundational disease biodiversity data in the north P