FORMER MEMBERS OF MGL
DANNIELLE KULAW, M.S.
Dannielle joined the Marine Genomics Lab at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in September 2014. Dannielle managed the lab and specialized in developing genomic libraries for marine teleosts and crustaceans. This research contributes to our understanding of genetic distinction among populations as well as phylogeny.
Dannielle received a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of West Florida and then worked as a marine biologist contractor for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf Ecology Division in Gulf Breeze, FL; there, she served on Ecotoxicology (2006-2007) and Proteomics (2007-2008) Tasks. Dannielle received a M.S. in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences from Louisiana State University in 2012. She worked as a Research Associate at LSU, specializing in histological processing of fish tissues and examination of reproductive biology parameters for heterochronal, multiple-spawning marine fish, to provide fishery managers with up-to-date information on stock vital rates and population dynamics.
1. Condition and connectivity of the endangered Rio Grande shiner, Notropis jemezanus
STUART WILLIS, PH.D.
Stuart joined the Marine Genomics Lab as a post-doctoral research associate in March 2014. His research at the MGL focused on estimating spatial and temporal recruitment dynamics of three species of deepwater snappers (Lutjanidae) off the west coast of Puerto Rico, including the relative contribution of marine protected areas, as well as resolving the number of migratory groups of king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) and their contribution to winter fisheries in Florida and Mexico. Both projects utilized double-digest, restriction-site associated DNA (ddRAD) sequencing to create extensive genomic datasets. A requirement in using this new technology was resolving effective strategies for quality assurance and robust signal in large and complex datasets.
Stuart is broadly interested in diversification in bony fishes, especially speciation and adaptation. His graduate research covered species boundaries, hybridization, and biogeography of South American freshwater (Amazon) fishes. He is particularly interested in how landscape heterogeneity and the constraints to physiological adaptation at the sequence and transcriptional levels and how that affects population-genetic patterns leading to speciation.
Stuart received a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under Guillermo Orti, and prior to that earned a M.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Canada) and a B.Sc. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Texas A&M University (College Station, TX). Stuart also worked previously as a DNA Analyst in the Forensic Genetics lab of the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (Houston, TX).
To learn more about Stuart's work, visit his website at http://www.willisecologyevolution.com/
JON PURITZ, PH.D.
Jon joined the Marine Genomics Lab in August of 2012. He is interested in utilizing next-generation sequencing technology and genome-scale analyses to investigate the effects of life-history strategy and human populations on the evolution of marine populations. At the MGL, he used the Illumina sequencing platform to investigate the effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill, environmental correlates, marine reserves and artificial reefs on the molecular ecology and population genomics of red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) in the Gulf of Mexico. He also continues to develop a custom analysis pipeline called dDocent to perform quality control, de novo assembly, read mapping, SNP calling, and quality filtering of double digest RAD-seq data. Lastly, he is using Illumina and Pacific Biosciences sequencing in a hybrid approach to sequence the genome of red snapper.
Jon earned his Ph.D. in the interdisciplinary Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology Program through the Zoology department at the University of Hawai’i working with Rob Toonen at the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology. His dissertation focused on how life history traits and coastal pollution effects the population connectivity of Asterinid sea stars. He earned his B.S. in Biology from Brown University in 2005. Find all of Jon’s research on his profile at ResearchGate, follow his work on his website, or follow Jon on Twitter.
CHRIS HOLLENBECK, PH.D.
Chris has been working on molecular genetics of fishes since he was an undergraduate and has been involved in a number of studies. His dissertation research involved using genomics to address issues in population genetics and the conservation of our natural resources Specifically, his research involved investigating ways that next-generation DNA sequencing and genetic mapping can be used to understand population dynamics of red drum, a marine fish species of considerable economic importance in the Gulf of Mexico and along the U.S. southeast coast.
Chris received a B.S. in Biology in 2009 from Texas A&M University – College Station and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Genetics from Texas A&M University – College Station.
PAVEL V. DIMENS, M.S.
Pavel received his B.S. in Aquatics and Fisheries Science from SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry in his home state of New York in 2010. After which he was employed by the USDA as a wildlife management technician, a park ranger in New York City, and eventually made his way down to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama to get his feet wet once again. During his time in Alabama, Pavel worked on projects including post oil-spill oyster health, red snapper diet and abundance, manatee radio tracking, coastal shark ecology, dolphin necropsies, and estuarine crustacean parasitism.
Shortly before arriving at the Marine Genomics Lab, Pavel completed a fellowship in the Lake Baikal region of Siberia and returned to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab once more to work on a project that examined phosphate build up in sediments adjacent to an oil refinery and phosphate plant. His work at the MGL focused on understanding long-term gene flow in a highly migratory species (Carcharhinus acronotus) across known genetic barriers in the Gulf of Mexico and the implications that may result regarding fisheries management.
Pavel is eager to employ modern molecular techniques to answer an entirely different set of questions than those posed by the previous work he was involved with. Within the lab itself, Pavel was also the graphic designer and self-appointed prankster.
Assessment of potential mixing of blacknose shark (Carcharhinus acronotus) stocks in the Florida Keys
Elucidate if gene flow is ocurring between blacknose sharks east and west of the Mississippi River plume
Kat worked with the Marine Genomics Lab in November 2017 until August 2018 as a McNair Scholars Program student. During her time with the MGL, Kat used DNA sequencing to better understand relationships within the genus Erimyzon.
Originally from Pflugerville, Texas, Kat moved to Corpus Christi, to obtain her B.S. in Biomedical Sciences in December 2018 from TAMU-CC. Her future interests include obtaining her M.S. in Biomedical Sciences and then obtaining a PhD. Her research interests include pathology, biology, genetics, and microbiology.
1. Phylogenetics of Catostomid suckers in the genus Erymizon.
SHANNON O'LEARY, PH.D.
Shannon joined the Marine Genomics Lab in January 2015 and is interested in using next-generation sequencing to study the genetic diversity and adaptive potential of small populations. Molecular ecology, conservation and landscape genetics/genomics offer a unique toolbox to assess population structure, connectivity and effective population size to assess biodiversity at its most fundamental level, genetic diversity, which in turn determines the adaptive potential of a population. She currently uses molecular markers to assess the effect of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the genetic diversity of demersal fishes, determine patterns of connectivity in fish populations in the Gulf of Mexico, and patterns of local adaptation using linkage maps.
Shannon previously taught Ecology & Evolution and Biodiversity as a Lecturer at the University of Towson after earning her PhD in Marine and Atmospheric Science from Stony Brook University in 2013. Her research focused on the genetic diversity, effective population size and patterns of genetic bottlenecks and inbreeding in several teleost and elasmobranch species which have experienced severe declines due to habitat loss and overexploitation. She
Restoration and enhancement of southern flounder in Texas bays and estuaries
Building genomic maps of southern flounder it ID genes or chromosomal regions that are involved in sustainability (adaptation) and resilience to future environmental/anthropogenic insult
Assessment of levels of population structure and connectivity of golden tilefish throughout their range
Alex joined the MGL in 2017. His research focused on assessing the degradation of prey item DNA in the stomachs of lionfish (Pterois volitans) during digestion. He will do this experimentally by quantifying the ratio of prey to host DNA in extractions from gut contents in different stages of digestion.
Alex was an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. He is currently studying biology with an emphasis in pre-med. He graduated from TAMU-CC in the Spring of 2019.
1. Assessment of degradation of prey item DNA in the stomachs of lionfish, Pterois volitans
Julia joined the MGL as a post-bachelorette student in 2016 and began her thesis work in Fall 2017. Her research is focused on understanding connectivity and population structure of Gafftopsail catfish (Bagre marinus) in the Gulf of Mexico.
Julia graduated in 2011 with a BFA from Texas State University and spent the next 5 years working in the education field in Austin, TX, preparing high school juniors and seniors for college. During this time, she volunteered with several different conservation/management organizations, including Bat Conservation International and Texas Parks and Wildlife. She also currently works as a collections assistant in the TAMU-CC Fish Systematics and Conservation lab under Dr. Frank Pezold.
1. Connectivity and population structure of Gafftopsail catfish (Bagre marinus) in the Gulf of Mexico.
JOHN R. GOLD, PH.D.
Dr. John Gold joined Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi in January of 2014 as an Endowed Chair in Genomics and Biodiversity at the Harte Research Institute. Previously, he was Regents Professor and Cintron Endowed Professor at Texas A&M University in College Station where he had been on the faculty since arriving in College Station in 1975. He jointly ran the Marine Genomics Laboratory along with Dr. David Portnoy. Dr. Gold’s research interests have been varied but since leaving the Drosophila laboratory in 1973 his research has involved genetics of both freshwater and marine fishes and ranged from cytogenetics to systematics and phylogenetics to quantitative genetics (briefly) to population genetics and molecular ecology. His work over the past 25 years primarily has involved exploited marine fishes along with a few studies of threatened/endangered cyprinid fishes. Dr. Gold also spent time as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation and while at TAMU-College Station was Chair of the Genetics Program and Director of the Center for Biosystematics and Biodiversity.
Dr. Gold received a B.S. degree in Biology in 1968 from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and a Ph.D. degree in 1973 from the University of California in Davis (UCD). Between 1973 and 1975 he was a postdoctoral scholar at UCD and it was then that he made the switch from Drosophila to fish.
MARINE GENOMICS LABORATORY • TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY - CORPUS CHRISTI • 6300 OCEAN DRIVE • CORPUS CHRISTI, TX 78412 - 5869