Alex Fraik’s new research, recently published in in the journal Genes, has been highlighted by Wild Steelheaders United’s Science Friday. Alex’s work reveals changes in the genetic structure of steelhead and rainbow trout that inhabit the Elwah River in WA when the Elwah and Glines Canyon Dams were present on the river, as well as following their removal in 2012 and 2015, respectively. Her research also shows that man-made barriers to fish migration, like dams, and natural barriers, like waterfalls, have different effects on genetic variation in these fish. Read the full Science Friday article here.
Ph.D. candidate Kerry McGowan is the 2020 recipient of the Vern Parish Award. The award was established in memory of Vern Parish, an important member of the American Livebearer Association. She will use the funding to continue her research on extremophile poecilids in southern Mexico.
Ph.D. candidates Alex Fraik and Kerry McGowan were recognized for their exceptional research by the School of Biological Science’s Graduate Program Committee. Both received scholarship money from the Carl H. Elling Endowment for their awards.
Several species of fish have adapted to harsh environments using the same mechanism, which brings to question evolutionary chance, according to a study by Michi Tobler, Joanna Kelley, and many additional collaborators. We recently published the article about repeated adaptations to extreme environments in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Writing is hard. It’s something that every scientist struggles with. Writing concisely — saying what you mean in as few words as possible — is especially hard yet it’s a crucial skill for scientists to develop. Postdoc Scott Hotaling published an open access essay in Limnology & Oceanography Letters to help. Titled “Simple rules for concise scientific writing” (see a summary of his rules below), Scott provides practical advice to improve your scientific writing.
The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is found only on the environmentally heterogeneous island of Tasmania and is threatened with extinction by a transmissible cancer, devil facial tumor disease (DFTD). In this study, Fraik and colleagues used landscape genomics analyses to investigate the relative effects of abiotic environment versus an infectious cancer (DFTD) on Tasmanian devil populations Several post‐DFTD candidate loci were associated with disease prevalence and were in linkage disequilibrium with genes involved in tumor suppression and immune response. Loss of apparent signal of abiotic local adaptation post‐disease suggests swamping by strong selection resulting from the rapid onset of DFTD. Read the full paper here.
Ph.D. Candidate Alex Fraik is featured in Outside magazine’s video What Dam Removals Can Do for a River. Alex was part of a team that sampled steelhead in Washington’s Elwah River to monitor their return after the removal of the Elwah and Glines Canyon Dams.