Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Nathan A Johnson, Ph.D.

Nathan Johnson is a Research Biologist at the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center. 


Ph.D., Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida

M.S., Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, Virginia Tech University

B.S., Fisheries Science, Virginia Tech University


Nathan Johnson's research focuses on investigating species boundaries, distributions, and conservation priorities of freshwater mussels in the Southeast.  Raised in eastern Virginia, Nate received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Fisheries and Wildlife Department at Virginia Tech and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida.  His undergraduate research focused on conservation genetics and propagation of endangered freshwater mussels and fishes.  For his master’s, Nate looked at the genetics of disease resistance in rainbow trout at the USDA-National Center for Cool and Coldwater Aquaculture in Leetown, WV. By developing new molecular markers to trace pedigrees and populations structure, he identified associations between major histocompatibility genes and disease resistance. His dissertation research resolved long-standing uncertainties about the systematics of freshwater mussels that will aid in the development of more effective conservation management strategies.  This includes documenting mussel diversity in rivers of the North American Coastal Plain using DNA barcoding and evaluating the processes responsible for their current geographic distribution (phylogeography).  He is active in a variety of professional societies including the American Fisheries Society and the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society and currently partnered with the Florida Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Outside of professional interests, he enjoys traveling, mountain biking, fishing, and surfing.