Research Interest Group (RIG): Systematics and Evolution
Variation in phenotypic traits bears on the adaptive potential, viability, and persistence of wildlife populations faced with changes in the environment. The aim of my research is to determine whether specific genes play a role in expressing phenotypic traits. This study will examine genetic variation for body size and body condition in polar bears from western Hudson Bay, Weddell seals from McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, and grey seals from Sable Island, Nova Scotia. To identify which genes are linked to trait variation I will develop single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for approximately 50 candidate genes for each species and then examine whether these SNPs are associated with trait variation (e.g. I will test for association between body condition and polymorphisms in genes related to fat metabolism such as lipoprotein lipase). The SNPs for candidate gene regions will be developed using a targeted gene approach.
Sascha Jeffers, PhD Student
Phone: (780) 492-8368