Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Kelley Lab joanna.l.kelley

Alexia Gee joins the Kelley Lab!

Alexia Gee has arrived in Pullman! We are very happy Alexia has decided to join the lab as a masters student. She has already started working with the bears on campus. Check out the WSU Bear Center if you’re curious to learn more about the bears!

John Coffin visits from KSU

John is a second-year PhD student in Biology at Kansas State University working with Dr. Michael Tobler. He hopes to understand how organisms adapt to novel environments using a variety of evolutionary and computational approaches. His current Ph.D. research examines the mechanisms and evolution of heavy metal tolerance in Western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) populations living in streams contaminated with mine outflow. John visited us here at WSU in June to collaborate on work to understand gene expression patterns that may allow these mosquitofish to live in contaminated environments.

Scott Hotaling receives Antarctic Bursary grant

Postdoc Scott Hotaling received a grant from the Antarctic Bursary! Congratulations Scott! The funding from the Antarctic Bursary ( will allow us to extend our “genomic natural history” data collection for polar eelpouts! New data from four eelpout genomes, including Arctic species, will provide an important comparison to our developing Antarctic eelpout genomic resources. This funding is also going to provide the necessary resources to improve our existing genome assembly of the Antarctic eelpout, Lycodicthys dearborni.

Scott Hotaling receives Mazamas grant for ice worm genome!

The Mazamas ( have generously provided new funding to support our efforts to sequence the ice worm (Mesenchytraeus solifugus) genome! Ice worms are segmented worms in the Phylum Annelida and their curious, ice-obligate lifestyle has long-fascinated biologists and climbers alike. The goal of our research is to uncover the genomic basis of their extreme adaptation. As part of this effort, we will also use our developing genomic resources to develop a tool to detect environmental DNA (“eDNA”) of ice worms which will allow researchers to refine our collective understanding of the geographic distribution of ice worms.

Courtney Jensen receives School of Biological Sciences Herbert L. Eastlick scholarship

Courtney Jensen – an undergraduate in our laboratory – received the School of Biological Sciences Herbert L. Eastlick scholarship. You can learn more about Herbert L. Eastlick here. Courtney also received the College of Arts and Sciences Minigrant to continue her research on brown bear hibernation during the summer! The award allows her to continue her investigation of genetic changes in genes that are differentially expressed between active season and hibernating bears. The award will also cover a portion of her research expenses.

Congratulations Courtney!


Scott Hotaling and others receive Evolution Education Outreach grant

The Society for the Study of the Evolution ( has awarded us a small grant to create an outreach workshop (and educator network) to promote evolution education in rural Idaho and Washington. We’ll be working directly with teachers (Grades 7-12) to learn how we (the research community) can support their efforts while also organizing visits by evolutionary biologists to their classrooms in the coming academic year.

Kryptolebias marmoratus lineages in Genome

Our paper describing the resequencing and comparison of 15 different mangrove rivulus Kryptolebias marmoratus lineages. The rivulus is preferentially self-fertilizing and yet we  found a remarkable amount of genetic diversity across the species even in lineages that have been selfing in the lab for over 10 generations. Here’s some press about the article.

Lins, L.S.F, Trojahn, S., Sockell, A., Yee, M-C, Tatarenkov, A., Bustamante, C.D., Earley, R.L., Kelley, J.L. Whole-genome sequencing reveals the extent of heterozygosity in a preferentially self-fertilizing hermaphroditic vertebrate. Genome.


Leatherback turtle publication by Luana Lins

A paper Luana co-author was recently published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom titled: “Revisiting the genetic diversity and population structure of the critically endangered leatherback turtles in the South-west Atlantic Ocean: insights for species conservation” Congratulations Luana!

The worldwide population of the leatherback sea turtle is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List. The study found that the Brazilian rookery has individuals from different areas in the world including turtles form the West Atlantic, despite recording low nest numbers per year. This study provides a baseline to understand population dynamics in the Atlantic, and to build comprehensive population assessments to support and develop management strategies. Additionally, this study highlights the importance of Brazilian in the conservation of the leatherback sea turtle. Brazil has both the only known regular rookery in the South-west Atlantic, and a mixed-origin foraging area for the species along its coast.