Elizabeth Kierepka, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar

Research Interests: Broadly, I am interested how environmental variation shapes evolutionary dynamics in species of conservation or management concern. My work encompasses multiple evolutionary scales, from speciation and hybridization events across an entire species’ range to micro-evolutionary changes within populations. Much of my research is integrative where I combine theory and methods from multiple disciplines, particularly population genetics, conservation biology, landscape ecology, and biostatistics.

Current Research: My research at MECU has two major foci:

1) Evolutionary genomics within a zone of secondary contact in gray foxes. For this project I am interested in evaluating divergence between eastern and western lineages of gray fox and quantifying gene flow within their zone of secondary contact.

2) Conservation genetics of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. The mountain gorilla project involves identifying individuals via non-invasive fecal sampling, capture-mark-recapture population estimation, and optimizing genomic methods.