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Goldberg Lab Spatial Ecology and Conservation Genetics

Principal Investigator




Caren is an assistant professor in the School of the Environment at Washington State University. She trained as a field biologist and started applying genetic techniques after earning her MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Arizona. She worked on modeling landscape change, habitat, and gene flow of amphibians for her PhD in Fish and Wildlife Resources at the University of Idaho. Caren’s current research focuses on developing and applying environmental DNA techniques to detect species of management concern and modeling connectivity for amphibians using landscape genomics.

Google scholar profile


Courses taught:

SOE 318 Wildlife Genetics (next offered Spring 2021)

SOE 446 Wildlife Habitat Ecology (Fall course)

SOE 548 Applied Spatial Ecology (offered Spring 2020)



Lab members



Meghan started as a PhD student in School of the Environment in the fall of 2017. She received her BS in wildlife science from the Ohio State University and her MS in biology from Western Kentucky University. Previously, Meghan has studied evolutionary genetics of unisexual Ambystoma salamanders and adaptive genetic variation in California tiger salamanders. For her PhD, Meghan is working on  landscape genomics of Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs, hybridization between barred and Sonoran tiger salamanders, and developing eDNA methods to further understand population demographics.


Kelsey joined the lab in Fall 2018 to pursue her MS degree in Natural Resources. For her thesis project, she is using visual encounter surveys and environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling to determine the distribution of amphibians of conservation concern on Jackson Demonstration State Forest in California. She is interested in the utility of eDNA methods for the conservation of aquatic species.


Alex is joining the lab in Fall 2019 and returning to WSU after having earned her BS in earth and environmental science to pursue her MS degree in natural resources. She has completed her pilot study here on her project developing eDNA detection methods for Smooth-coated otters in Goa, India. With the success of her pilot study, she aims to map the distribution of Smooth-coated otters throughout Goa, India using eDNA. She is interested in the use of eDNA to monitor rare and elusive mammals.


Mary graduated from University of Idaho with a BS in Wildlife Management. She leads the labwork on all our contract projects and keeps everything in the lab working great in addition to enjoying being outside, running, camping, and hiking.

Our awesome lab alumni


Colleen finished her M.S. in the School of the Environment in Fall 2016. For her thesis, she worked on adapting environmental DNA (eDNA) methods to be used in lake restoration projects across the Sierra Nevada in California. Specifically, she addressed the issue of discerning live from dead specimen detections using eDNA techniques. Colleen is currently working for Yosemite National Park as a Wildlife Biologist. You can find Colleen’s work here in Diseases of Aquatic Organisms and in Freshwater Science and Limnology.


Matt earned his M.S. in the School of the Environment in Spring 2017. His work focused on investigating detection and occupancy of Columbia spotted frogs across the Great Basin using eDNA and field sampling in a multi-scale and multi-species modeling framework. During his time at WSU, Matt also developed eDNA assays for California tiger salamanders and western pond turtles. Matt is working on his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.



Mallory earned her M.S. in the School of the Environment in Spring 2018. Her project focused on using non-invasive genetic methods to understand populations and inform management decisions. She used environmental DNA (eDNA) to create a sampling protocol for Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs and foothill yellow-legged frogs in Plumas National Forest in California. Mallory also used eDNA to check historical records of Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog below their elevation range.  Mallory’s website: