Margaret Hunter, Ph.D.

Biography

EDUCATION

Ph.D., Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Florida

B.S., Microbiology and Cell Sciences (Minor: Chemistry, Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology), University of Florida

RESEARCH

Margaret Hunter attended the University of Florida where she received a B.Sc. in Microbiology and Cellular Sciences and minored in Chemistry and Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology.  Following her bachelor degree, she received a PhD in Veterinary Medical Sciences researching Sirenia (manatee and dugong) cytogenetics and conservation genetics.  Affiliations: USGS Sirenia Project USGS Genetics and Genomics Research Courtesy Assistant Professor, University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences  Affiliated faculty member, University of Florida Aquatic Animal Health Program Affiliated faculty member, University of Florida Genetics Institute.

Science and Products

Filter Total Items: 9
Three pythons well camoflaged
June 16, 2016

Detecting invasive species at low densities or prior to population establishment is critical for successful control and eradication. For example, Burmese pythons occupy thousands of square kilometers of mostly inaccessible habitats.

African Jewelfish (Hemichromis letourneuxi)
April 26, 2016

To control or possibly eliminate non-native species without harm to native fauna, a genetic technique using sex-reversed females with two Y chromosomes (Trojan Y) is being developed to reduce the breeding success of the species, ultimately resulting in population decline or loss.

West Indian Manatee Population Genetics
April 16, 2016

Nuclear microsatellite markers have been developed and implemented on ~2,000 West Indian manatees. These markers provide individual genetic fingerprints for mark-recapture studies, population structure information for the conservation of unique or isolated populations, and pedigree and relatedness information for addressing inbreeding and breeding structure patterns.

Asian Tiger Shrimp Distribution and Genetics
April 16, 2016

The Asian tiger shrimp began appearing in commercial shrimp catches in 2006. They grow larger than native shrimp and are known to be fierce predators - so shrimpers and managers are concerned about the potential effects this species might have. 

Grass Carp, Caloosahatchee River, Florida, 1995. Photo by Leo G. Nico
April 8, 2016

Invasive Asian carp are problematic for native species, and managers are implementing control measures without well-quantified detection limits or a means to assess the accuracy and precision of existing or future survey data for the fish. Environmental DNA - eDNA - is already used to detect the presence of invasive species, and can be used to identify locations to focus carp control efforts. 

Three pythons well camoflaged
April 6, 2016

Traditional approaches to locating Burmese pythons - including visual searches and trapping - have resulted in low detection. Environmental DNA - or eDNA - is increasingly being used to detect the presence of non-native species, particularly when traditional methods may not be adequate. 

Captured Burmese python
April 6, 2016

Invasive Burmese pythons threaten the success of Everglades restoration efforts. To assist with management and population control decision making, USGS scientists are implementing genetic studies to identify potential new entry pathways and to help quantify the size of the breeding population.

Black carp sample being preserved for genetic study
April 5, 2016

Black carp have likely been present in the Mississippi River since the 1990s, but their current distribution and spread is not well understood. Genetics is helping to shed light on this species, including its diversity, the relatedness of wild and captive fish, and its introduction history. 

Burmese Python are difficult to detect
March 17, 2016

Current tools for detection of Burmese pythons in South Florida have resulted in low detection rates. Environmental DNA - eDNA - has shown to be effective at detecting these invasive snakes, and can help to determine range limits for the species, information that is critical for management and control efforts. 

Publications

Filter Total Items: 23
[title_1]
Year Published: 2016

Detection limits of quantitative and digital PCR assays and their influence in presence-absence surveys of environmental DNA

A set of universal guidelines is needed to determine the limit of detection (LOD) in PCR-based analyses of low concentration DNA. In particular, environmental DNA (eDNA) studies require sensitive and reliable methods to detect rare and cryptic species through shed genetic material in environmental samples. Current strategies for assessing detection limits of eDNA are either too stringent or...

Hunter, Margaret; Dorazio, Robert M.; Butterfield, John S.; Meigs-Friend, Gaia; Nico, Leo; Ferrante, Jason
Hunter, M.E., Dorazio, R.M., Butterfield, J.S.S., Meigs-Friend, G., Nico, L.G., and Ferrante, J.A., 2016, Detection limits of quantitative and digital PCR assays and their influence in presence-absence surveys of environmental DNA: Molecular Ecology Resources, Accepted Online Early, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1755-0998.12619.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

Statistical models for the analysis and design of digital polymerase chain (dPCR) experiments

Statistical methods for the analysis and design of experiments using digital PCR (dPCR) have received only limited attention and have been misused in many instances. To address this issue and to provide a more general approach to the analysis of dPCR data, we describe a class of statistical models for the analysis and design of experiments that require quantification of nucleic acids.

Dorazio, Robert; Hunter, Margaret
Dorazio, R.M., and Hunter, M.E., 2015, Statistical models for the analysis and design of digital PCR experiments: Analytical Chemistry, Online October 5, 2015, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.5b02429.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

Habitat use patterns of the invasive red lionfish Pterois volitans: a comparison between mangrove and reef systems in San Salvador, Bahamas

The Indo-Pacific red lionfish Pterois volitans is widespread both in its native and its non-native habitats. The rapid invasion of this top predator has had a marked negative effect on fish populations in the Western Atlantic and the Caribbean. It is now well documented that lionfish are invading many tropical and sub-tropical habitats. However, there are fewer data available on the change in...

Pimiento, Catalina; Nifong, James C.; Hunter, Margaret E.; Monaco, Eric; Silliman, Brian R.
Pimiento, C., Nifong, J.C., Hunter, M.E., Monaco, E., and Silliman, B.R., 2015, Habitat use patterns of the invasive red lionfish Pterois volitans: a comparison between mangrove and reef systems in San Salvador, Bahamas: Marine Ecology, v. 36, no. 1, p. 28-37, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/maec.12114.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling improves occurrence and detection estimates of invasive Burmese pythons

Environmental DNA (eDNA) methods are used to detect DNA that is shed into the aquatic environment by cryptic or low density species. Applied in eDNA studies, occupancy models can be used to estimate occurrence and detection probabilities and thereby account for imperfect detection. However, occupancy terminology has been applied inconsistently in eDNA studies, and many have calculated occurrence...

Hunter, Margaret E.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Dorazio, Robert M.; Fike, Jennifer A.; Smith, Brian J.; Hunter, Charles T.; Reed, Robert N.; Hart, Kristen M.
Hunter ME,Oyler-McCance SJ, Reed RN, Fike JA, Smith BJ, Hunter CT, Hart KM. 2015. Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling improves occurrence and detection estimates of invasive Burmese pythons. Plos One 10(4): e0121655.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

Marsh rabbit mortalities tie pythons to the precipitous decline of mammals in the Everglades

To address the ongoing debate over the impact of invasive species on native terrestrial wildlife, we conducted a large-scale experiment to test the hypothesis that invasive Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) were a cause of the precipitous decline of mammals in Everglades National Park (ENP). Evidence linking pythons to mammal declines has been indirect and there are reasons to question...

McCleery, Robert A.; Sovie, Adia; Reed, Robert N.; Cunningham, Mark W.; Hunter, Margaret E.; Hart, Kristen M.
McCleery, R.A., A. Sovie, R.N. Reed, M.W. Cunningham, M.E. Hunter, and K.M. Hart. 2015. Marsh rabbit mortalities tie pythons to the precipitous decline of mammals in the Everglades. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 282(1805): 20150120.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

Wide-ranging phylogeographic structure of invasive red lionfish in the Western Atlantic and Greater Caribbean

The red lionfish (Pterois volitans) is an invasive predatory marine fish that has rapidly expanded its presence in the Western Hemisphere. We collected 214 invasive red lionfish samples from nine countries and territories, including seven unpublished locations. To more comprehensively evaluate connectivity, we compiled our d-loop sequence data with 846 published sequences, resulting in 1,060...

Butterfield, John S.; Díaz-Ferguson, Edgardo; Silliman, Brian R.; Saunders, Jonathan W.; Buddo, Dayne; Mignucci-Giannoni, Antonio A.; Searle, Linda; Allen, Aarin C; Hunter, Margaret E.
Butterfield JSS, Diaz-Ferguson, Silliman BR, Saunders JW, Buddo D, Mignucci-Giannoni AA, Searle L, Allen A, Hunter ME (2015) Wide-ranging phylogeographic structure of invasive red lionfish in the Western Atlantic and Greater Caribbean. Marine Biology,162:773-781. DOI:10.1007/s00227-015-2623-y.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

Convergent evolution of the genomes of marine mammals

Marine mammals from different mammalian orders share several phenotypic traits adapted to the aquatic environment and therefore represent a classic example of convergent evolution. To investigate convergent evolution at the genomic level, we sequenced and performed de novo assembly of the genomes of three species of marine mammals (the killer whale, walrus and manatee) from three mammalian orders...

Foote, Andrew D.; Liu, Yue; Thomas, Gregg W.C.; Vinař, Tomáš; Alföldi, Jessica; Deng, Jixin; Dugan, Shannon; van Elk, Cornelis E.; Hunter, Margaret; Joshi, Vandita; Khan, Ziad; Kovar, Christie; Lee, Sandra L.; Lindblad-Toh, Kerstin; Mancia, Annalaura; Nielsen, Rasmus; Qin, Xiang; Qu, Jiaxin; Raney, Brian J.; Vijay, Nagarjun; Wolf, Jochen B. W.; Hahn, Matthew W.; Muzny, Donna M.; Worley, Kim C.; Gilbert, M. Thomas P.; Gibbs, Richard A.
Foote, A.D., Liu, Y., Thomas, G.W.C., Vinař, T., Alfӧldi, J., Deng, J., Dugan, S., van Elk, C.E., Hunter, M.E., Joshi, V., Khan, Z., Kovar, C., Lee, S.L., Lindblad-Toh, K., Mancia, A., Nielsen, R., Qin, X., Qu, J., Raney, B.J., Vijay, N., Wolf, J.B.W., Hahn, M.W., Muzny, D.M., Worley, K.C., Gilbert, M.T.P., and Gibbs, R.A., 2015, Convergent evolution of the genomes of marine mammals: Nature Genetics, v. 47, no. 3, p. 272-275, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3198.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

Genetic analysis of invasive Asian Black Carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus) in the Mississippi River Basin: evidence for multiple introductions

Invasive Asian Black Carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus) have been present in USA aquaculture facilities since the 1980s and wild Black Carp have been found in the Mississippi River Basin since the early 1990s. This study characterizes the genetic diversity and relatedness of the Basin’s Black Carp and clarifies the introduction history. Analyses focused on three mitochondrial markers (control region,...

Hunter, Margaret E.; Nico, Leo G.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2014

Regional differentiation among populations of the Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)

Hart, Kristen M.; Hunter, Margaret E.; King, Tim L.
Regional differentiation among populations of the Diamondback terrapin (<i>Malaclemys terrapin</i>); 2014; Article; Journal; Conservation Genetics; Hart, Kristen M.; Hunter, Margaret E.; King, Tim L.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2014

Invasion of Asian tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon Fabricius, 1798, in the western north Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

Fuller, Pam L.; Knott, David M.; Kingsley-Smith, Peter R.; Morris, James A.; Buckel, Christine A.; Hunter, Margaret E.; Hartman, Leslie D.
Invasion of Asian tiger shrimp, <i>Penaeus monodon</i> Fabricius, 1798, in the western north Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico; 2014; Article; Journal; Aquatic Invasions; Fuller, Pam L.; Knott, David M.; Kingsley-Smith, Peter R.; Morris, James A.; Buckel, Christine A.; Hunter, Margaret E.; Hartman, Leslie D.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2013

Role of a polymorphism in a Hox/Pax-responsive enhancer in the evolution of the vertebrate spine

Guerreiro, Isabel; Nunes, Andreia; Woltering, Joost M.; Casaca, Ana; Nóvoa, Ana; Vinagre, Tânia; Hunter, Margaret E.; Duboule, Denis; Mallo, Moisés
Role of a polymorphism in a Hox/Pax-responsive enhancer in the evolution of the vertebrate spine; 2013; Article; Journal; Proceedings of the National Academy of Science; Guerreiro, Isabel ; Nunes, Andreia ; Woltering, Joost M.; Casaca, Ana ; Nóvoa, Ana ; Vinagre, Tânia ; Hunter, Margaret E.; Duboule, Denis ; Mallo, Moisés
[title_1]
Year Published: 2013

Validation of eDNA surveillance sensitivity for detection of Asian carps in controlled and field experiments

Mahon, Andrew R.; Jerde, Christopher L.; Galaska, Matthew; Bergner, Jennifer L.; Chadderton, W. Lindsay; Lodge, David M.; Hunter, Margaret E.; Nico, Leo G.
Validation of eDNA surveillance sensitivity for detection of Asian carps in controlled and field experiments; 2013; Article; Journal; PLoS ONE; Mahon, Andrew R.; Jerde, Christopher L.; Galaska, Matthew; Bergner, Jennifer L.; Chadderton, W. Lindsay; Lodge, David M.; Hunter, Margaret E.; Nico, Leo G.
Filter Total Items: 1
Image: USGS Science Aids Manatees
January 22, 2016

It may be hard to believe the legend that sailors long-at-sea once believed manatees to be mermaids. The manatee nickname the “Sea Cow” – named so for their affinity for grazing on vegetation and their slow, ambling way – just makes more sense. But a new U.S. Geological Survey video reveals that while they may be cow-like, they also have more than a bit of magical mermaid to them.