In addition to my work on the reproductive biology of mummichogs, Fundulus heteroclitus, I have also begun to work on the molecular popluation genetics of estuarine fishes with Dr. Charles Wray:
Population genetics of estuarine fishes in Acadia National Park.
With Dr. Charles Wray at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and with a LL Bean Research Grant we have been investigating how genetically connected popualations of mummichogs (Fundulus heteroclitus) and Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia) are among some of the estuaries in Acadia National Park. Mummichogs are year-round residents in the estuaries, although they can also be found along the shores throughout the upper parts of bays, and Atlantic silversides are found inshore during the year but come into the estuaries in the summer to spawn. These two species represent a range of use of the estuary, and we thought that it would be much more likely for mummichogs both to have less genetic diversity within an estuary and to have more distinct populations among estuaries compared to the more mobile Atlantic silversides. Colorado College student Elena Correa did the molecular analysis of the data collected by our research crew over the summer, and we expect to present the results this spring. We seined each of four estuaries for fish, and then took small fin clips of individuals and released them, so no animals need to be sacrificed (killed) to get our data. We also collected fin clips from several other estuarine species, most notably the three species of sticklebacks from the area, with the idea of adding these species to the database sometime in the future.