My current research focuses on salmonid species Oncorhynchus mykiss, also known as marine steelhead and freshwater rainbow trout. The offspring of both steelhead and rainbow trout can either remain resident freshwater fish, or undergo the physiological and morphological changes known as smoltification that allow for survival in a marine habitat. What exactly determines if an individual smolts is difficult to determine because it seems to be a combination of many factors, both biological and environmental. I am interested in how genetic effects of a specific chromosomal inversion on chromosome Omy05 impact development and smoltification in embryonic and juvenile O. mykiss and how temperature influences those effects.
My project looks at how parental life history impacts development and life history of offspring. In collaboration with Mokelumne River Hatchery, we will be able to look at epigenetic patterns between fish of different life histories.
As an undergraduate, I was a research assistant for Dr. Bill Detrich at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center. Our work focused on Antarctic fish, including the icefish family. Icefish have undergone a series of unique adaptations, including the loss of red blood cells. Icefish blood is instead a milky color. The Detrich lab uses Antarctic fish as a study system for understanding adaptation at the molecular scale. During my three years working for this lab, I was deployed to Palmer Station for the 2016 Winter (May – October) to rear embryos for developmental studies and to sample adult fish for different gene expression studies.