Genomic evolution of mice selected for longer relative tibia length

My post-doctoral research studies the genomic response to selection for a morphological trait. We aim to understand the molecular basis of phenotypic variation and response to selection in a population genetics and quantitative genetics framework. The ultimate goal is to re-trace the entire selection experiment in every individual, at every locus, in the entire genome.

Physiological and Genetic Causes of a Selection Limit for Voluntary Wheel-Running in Mice

My dissertation work used a long-term artificial selection experiment on mice that have been bred for high voluntary wheel-running to answer:

  • How do replicate lines differ in response to selection for a complex behavior?
  • Why do selection experiments reach "limits"?
  • How can we break a selection limit?
  • How do early environmental factors affect exercise behavior?

I used various research techniques, including quantitative genetics, simulation modeling, "animal model" pedigree-based analyses, endrocrinology, and whole-animal behavior and performance measures.

Undergraduate field studies

The effects of increased motor boat traffic along the Rio Bartola on cane toads.

The field site in Nicaragua was intersected with two rivers, the San Juan and Bartola. Increased tourism in this area of Nicaragua encouraged the villagers to use motor boats instead of canoes, which used to be the norm. My partner and I wanted to test whether the anthropogenic noise on the Bartola river had an effect on the developing cane toads (tadpoles and froglets).

The effects of anthropogenic noise on the territorial behaviors of howler monkeys.

Another project we had in Nicaragua was to study if increased human noises (boat motors, construction chainsaws) affected the behavior of howler monkeys.