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Stephen Spear, PhD

I am a Research Biologist within the molecular biology laboratory group at UMESC. My focus is implementing and developing molecular tools to aid in management of both invasive and native species, with a particular focus on environmental DNA (eDNA).

Examples include eDNA monitoring for invasive carp, developing portable eDNA tests to detect invasive species at points of entry, and using eDNA metabarcoding to identify native pollinator communities. I am also working to apply genomic approaches to better understand abundance and population structure of invasive carp.

 I began my career as a conservation scientist with the Orianne Society, a reptile and amphibian conservation organization and concurrently as a visiting scientist with the University of Idaho. During this time I worked on landscape genetics of snakes, developed an eDNA monitoring program for eastern hellbender, and initiated a bushmaster conservation program in Costa Rica. After six years at Orianne Society, I worked for four years as Director of Wildlife Ecology at The Wilds, an AZA institution in eastern Ohio, where I oversaw hellbender and American burying beetle headstarting and reintroduction, conducted site-level ecological studies, and continued my work on eDNA and genomic projects.

Education and Certifications

  • B.S. in Biology, University of Richmond

  • M.S. in Biology, Idaho State University

  • PhD Zoology Washington State University

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