Alana Alexander

Alana Alexander

Postdoctoral Researcher
Molecular Genomics Lab
785.864.9886
Dyche Hall

Alana is an evolutionary biologist/molecular ecologist interested in the processes that shape genetic diversity and differentiation in species.

Research: 

My research has included population genetics and phylogenetics, working on species ranging from whales to mice, in order to designate stock structure and sources of biological invasions. In general, I am broadly interested in the effects of behavior, social structure, selection, and molecular evolution on patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation in non-model organisms. I am particularly interested in how patterns of genetic diversity relate to conservation issues and/or interesting ecological and evolutionary questions. I am also interested in the ability of next-generation sequencing to characterize a wider set of genetic markers for use in non-model organisms, as well as the analytical challenges that come with dealing with these large datasets.

Publications: 

Campbell, L. P. and Alexander, A. M. In press. Landscape genetics of Aedes mcintoshi (Diptera: Culicidae), an important vector of Rift Valley fever virus in Northeastern Kenya. Journal of Medical Entomology.

Alexander, A., Su, Y.-C., Oliveros C. H., Olson, K. V., Travers, S. L. and Brown, R. M.  2017. Genomic data reveals potential for hybridization, introgression, and incomplete lineage sorting to confound phylogenetic relationships in an adaptive radiation of narrow-mouth frogs. Evolution. 71(2): 475-488.

Alexander, A., D. Steel, K. Hoekzema, S.L. Mesnick, D. Engelhaupt, I. Kerr, R. Payne, and C.S. Baker. 2016. What influences the worldwide genetic structure of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)? Molecular ecology. 25(12): 2754–2772.

Grismer, J. L., J.A. Schulte, A. Alexander, P. Wagner, S.L. Travers, M.D. Buehler, L.J. Welton and R.M. Brown. 2016. The Eurasian invasion: phylogenomic data reveal multiple Southeast Asian origins for Indian Dragon Lizards. BMC evolutionary biology. 16(1): 1.

King, C., A. Alexander, T. Chubb, R. Cursons, J. MacKay, H. McCormick, E. Murphy, A. Veale, and H. Zhang. 2016. What can the geographic distribution of mtDNA haplotypes tell us about the invasion of New Zealand by house mice Mus musculus? Biological Invasions: 1-15.

Carroll, E.L., W.J. Rayment, A.M. Alexander, C.S. Baker, N.J. Patenaude, D. Steel, R. Constantine, R. Cole, L.J. Boren, and S. Childerhouse. 2014. Reestablishment of former wintering grounds by New Zealand southern right whales. Marine Mammal Science. 30: 206-220.

Alexander, A., D. Steel, B. Slikas, K. Hoekzema, C. Carraher, M. Parks, R. Cronn, and C.S. Baker. 2013. Low diversity in the mitogenome of sperm whales revealed by next-generation sequencing. Genome Biology and Evolution. 5(1): 113-129.

MacKay, J.W.B., A. Alexander, M.E. Hauber, E.C. Murphy, and M.N. Clout. 2013. Does genetic variation among invasive house mice in New Zealand affect eradication success? New Zealand Journal of Ecology. 37(1): 18-25.

Carroll, E.L., S.J. Childerhouse, M. Christie, S. Lavery, N. Patenaude, A. Alexander, R. Constantine, D. Steel, L. Boren, and C. Scott Baker. 2012. Paternity assignment and demographic closure in the New Zealand southern right whale. Molecular Ecology. 21(16): 3960-3973.

Carroll, E., N.J. Patenaude, A. Alexander, D. Steel, R. Harcourt, S. Childerhouse, S. Smith, J. Bannister, R. Constantine, and C.S. Baker. 2011. Population structure and individual movement of southern right whales around New Zealand and Australia. Mar Ecol-Prog Ser. 432: 257-268.

Education: 

Oregon State University, Newport, OR - Ph.D., 12/2014 Wildlife Science

The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand - B.Sc. (Honours) 06/2007 Biology

The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand - B.Sc. 06/2006 Biology

Awards: 

2013   OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife: Chairman's Leadership Award; $USD 500

2013   American Cetacean Society, Oregon Chapter: Student Research Grant Award; $USD 200

2010-2012     Hatfield Marine Science Center: Mamie Markham Award; $USD 8,000

2010   Hatfield Marine Science Center: Lylian Brucefield Reynolds Scholarship; $USD 1,000

2008-2011     International Fulbright Science and Technology Award; $USD 119,000

2008-2010     Hatfield Marine Science Center: Mamie Markham Award; $USD 10,000

2006   The University of Auckland: Senior Scholarship in Biological Sciences; $NZD 500

2006   University of Auckland Masters/Honours Scholarship; $NZD 10,000

Teaching: 

University of Kansas

2016    On-campus instructor of record: "Topics in molecular systematics" (graduate course)

2016    Instructor for the Marine Genomics Group’s (Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, Oregon) RADseq for non-model species workshop

2014 --    Informal mentoring of graduate students and others at the Biodiversity Institute

Oregon State University

2012 -- 2014  E-campus/on-campus instructor of record: "The natural history of whales & whaling" (4th year/graduate course)

2011 -- 2014  E-campus/on-campus guest lecturer: "Introduction to fisheries and wildlife" (1st year course)

2014   E-campus instructor of record: “Principles of Fish and Wildlife Conservation" (2nd year course)

2013   E-campus instructor: "Field sampling of fish and wildlife" (2nd year course)

2013   On-campus guest lecturer: "Coastal ecology and resource management" (4th year/graduate course)

2011-2012     Teaching assistant and E-campus course developer: "The natural history of whales & whaling" (4th year/graduate course)

Professional Presentations: 

2016    Presentation: Society for the Study of Evolution annual conference, Austin, Texas: "One kingfisher, two kingfisher, red kingfisher, blue kingfisher: using RADseq to describe the species status of the Oriental dwarf-kingfisher"

2016    Invited Presentation: Marine Genomics Group, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, Oregon: "One kingfisher, two kingfisher, red kingfisher, blue kingfisher: using RADseq to describe the species status of the Oriental dwarf-kingfisher"

2015    Presentation: The 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, San Francisco, California: "What drives the genetic structure in oceanic populations of the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)?"

2015    Presentation: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles annual conference, Lawrence, Kansas: "Ultra-conserved elements resolve a rapidly-diverging adaptive radiation of frogs in an island archipelago"

2014    Presentation: Eleventh Annual Research Advances in Fisheries, Wildlife and Ecology (RAFWE) Symposium, Corvallis, Oregon (best speaker in session): "High levels of maternal structure among regional populations of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the Pacific and Indian Ocean"

2013   Invited presentation: The Oregon Institute for Marine Biology, Charleston, Oregon: "A bottleneck for Moby Dick? Patterns of genetic differentiation and diversity in the sperm whale"

2013   Presentation: Annual Evolution conference, Snowbird, Utah: "A bottleneck for Moby Dick? Next-generation sequencing of nuclear and mitogenomic diversity in the sperm whale"

2012   Presentation: 18th Annual Markham Symposium, Newport, Oregon (best speaker in session): “How low can you go? Next-generation sequencing confirms low mitogenome diversity in the sperm whale”

2011   Presentation: Annual Evolution conference, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Eighth Annual Research Advances in Fisheries, Wildlife and Ecology (RAFWE) Symposium, Corvallis, Oregon (best speaker in session): “How low can you go? Next-generation sequencing confirms low mitogenome diversity in the sperm whale”

2010   Presentation: Seventh Annual RAFWE Symposium, Corvallis, Oregon: “A circum-equatorial survey of mtDNA diversity in the sperm whale: Voyage of the Odyssey

2010   Poster: Annual CGRB conference and Annual Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution conference, Lyon, France: “Low mtDNA control region diversity in sperm whales: Using interspecies comparisons & mitogenomes to investigate mutational constraints”

2009   Presentation: Sixth Annual Research Advances in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Ecology Symposium (RAFWE), Corvallis, Oregon (best speaker in session) and Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) ‘Whale Week’ outreach event: “Individual identification, regional movements and genetic differentiation of the mainland New Zealand southern right whale population, 2003-2007”

Professional Societies: 

Society for the Study of Evolution