Molecular Ecology Laboratory


Molecular ecology is the study of the earth and its ecosystems through genetic methods.  The main objectives of the USGS Alaska Science Center molecular ecology research program are to:

  • Identify and fill gaps in our knowledge about species and population diagnosis, biodiversity, and health of wildlife and their habitats to inform decision making by management agencies
  • Provide state-of-the-art molecular science applications and protocols for USGS, Department of Interior, and other partners.

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Year Published: 2021

Metabarcoding of environmental samples suggest wide distribution of eelgrass (Zostera marina) pathogens in the north Pacific

Seagrass meadows provide important ecological services to the marine environment but are declining worldwide. Although eelgrass meadows in the north Pacific are thought to be relatively healthy, few studies have assessed the presence of known disease pathogens in these meadows. In a pilot study to test the efficacy of the methods and to provide...

Menning, Damian M.; Gravley, Hunter A; Cady, Melissa N.; Pepin, Daniel J; Wyllie-Echeverria, Sandy; Ward, David H.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2021

Whole‐genome resequencing reveals persistence of forest‐associated mammals in Late Pleistocene refugia along North America’s North Pacific Coast

AimNumerous glacial refugia have been hypothesized along North America's North Pacific Coast that may have increased divergence of refugial taxa, leading to elevated endemism and subsequently clustered hybrid zones following deglaciation. The locations and community composition of these ice‐free areas remains controversial, but whole‐genome...

Colella, Jocelyn P.; Lan, Tianying; Talbot, Sandra L.; Lindqvist, Charlotte; Cook, Joseph A.

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Year Published: 2021

Extrinsically reinforced hybrid speciation within Holarctic ermine (Mustela spp.) produces an insular endemic

AimRefugial isolation during glaciation is an established driver of speciation; however, the opposing role of interglacial population expansion, secondary contact, and gene flow on the diversification process remains less understood. The consequences of glacial cycling on diversity are complex and especially so for archipelago species, which...

Colella, Jocelyn P.; Frederick, Lindsey; Talbot, Sandra L.; Cook, Joe