Applied Biology

I have been active in developing statistical techniques needed for utilizing genetic marker data in both applied and basic biological research. At the University of California, Davis, I participated in a research group led by Dr. Marc Mangel which developed and tested methodology based on molecular genetic data for identifying the geographic origin of ocean-caught Chinook salmon. My contribution focused on the statistical and computational techniques, but our group worked closely on all theoretical and empirical aspects of the project. In addition to developing the stock identification methods for use by California fisheries managers, my colleagues and I developed a general statistical measure that could be used to rank the information content of molecular markers for stock identification. In times of limited funding, managers can utilize this ranking to select a reduced set of markers that minimizes the amount of information loss.

More recently, I have worked with Drs. Helen Alexander and Norman Slade on applications of RAPD genetic markers to study the population genetics of a dikaryotic plant fungal pathogen using haploid isolate data. We have also critically assessed methods that have been used by conservation biologists to detect whether mammalian populations are being overharvested. Dr. Slade and I have considered the legal interpretation of genetic marker data in forensic applications.

Selected publications in this research area