The Molecular Ecology Laboratory archives small tissue and blood samples from wild turtles and marine mammals for population genetics, steroids, RNA extraction/reverse transcription, and stable isotope analysis.
For questions regarding the Laboratory, please contact Amanda Bowman.
The Molecular Ecology Lab maintains a core group that serves the marine mammal and sea turtle programs of the SWFSC, by processing and archiving tissue samples, extracting DNA, and performing genetic analyses. In addition, researchers employ molecular methods to study hormones that indicate reproductive status, and stable isotopes to reveal fine-scale geographic origins of animals.
The Lab has a state-of the art genetics facility, including a clean room for ancient DNA, dedicated pre-PCR rooms, robotic liquid handling, and instruments for real-time quantitative PCR, fluorescent DNA quantification, microsatellite and SNP genotyping, and DNA sequencing by capillary electrophoresis.
Molecular Ecology already provides crucial data for conservation, but is especially important for marine species, where traditional ecological tools are often infeasible. These techniques are being applied in ever more creative and significant ways, which allow us to better manage these wild species in their remote marine habitats. We have assembled a few examples from the published literature, in addition to our own research programs, to illustrate some genetic applications in conservation.