I am working on the genomics of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), an important forestry pest in Western Canada. I am looking for signs of genetic drift and possible adaptive changes in the beetle populations, emphasizing differences in population structure between invasive populations and those in the beetle’s historic range. This study will employ SNP analysis using next-generation sequencing of beetles sampled throughout Alberta and B.C.. I am also working to build a linkage map of the mountain pine beetle to find the locations of genes and genetic markers within the MPB genome. Finally, I am looking to conduct a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of the mountain pine beetle, looking for genetic markers linked to dispersal ability in MPB. These studies will help in characterizing and defining characters and changes within an important invasive species, allowing better forecasting and prevention of current and future outbreaks.
Prior to beginning my MSc, I graduated with a BComm in accounting from the U of A School of Business. After working for 6 months as an accountant I decided insects had more of my love, and came back to university to pursue entomology. I have previously worked on surveys of Carabid biodiversity and diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) under the late Dr. Lloyd Dosdall.