Rachael Adams


I am a post-graduate research assistant investigating telomere length dynamics in both wild (Soay sheep on St. Kilda) and domestic (dairy cattle) mammals.  More specifically, we are interested in understanding the effects of early life conditions on changes in telomere length across individual lifespans, and to determine whether telomere length can be used as a biomarker to predict lifetime fitness and longevity.  I am primarily involved in the laboratory work for these projects which involves DNA extraction from blood samples, as well as two different techniques (qPCR and TRF) for determining telomere length.

Before joining Dan’s lab, I completed my PhD in Evolution and Behaviour at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, under supervisor Dr. Theresa Burg.  Using a landscape genetics approach, I investigated the influence of natural and anthropogenic landscape variables on gene flow and population genetic differentiation of a resident North American songbird, the black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), at both large and small geographical scales.  This involved field work (i.e. capturing birds by mist nets and taking blood samples for genetic analyses), laboratory work (i.e. genotyping 1300+ individuals for up to 14 microsatellite genetic markers), as well as the collection of landscape-level data using a Geographic Information System for landscape genetic analyses.

 

Publications:

Adams, R.V., LaZerte, S.E., Otter, K.A., Burg, T.M. (2016) Influence of landscape features on the microgeographic genetic structure of a resident songbird. Heredity. DOI: 10.1038/hdy.2016.12.

Adams, R.V., & Burg, T.M. (2015) Gene flow of a forest-dependent bird across a fragmented landscape. PloS one, 10: e0140938.

Adams, R.V., & Burg, T.M., (2014) Influence of ecological and geological features on rangewide patterns of genetic structure in a widespread passerine. Heredity. 114: 143-154.

Jones, M.R., Forester, B.R., Teufel, A.I., Adams, R.V., Anstett, D.N., Goodrich, B.A., Landguth, E.L., Joost, S. & Manel, S., (2013) Integrating landscape genomics and spatially explicit approaches to detect loci under selection in clinal populations. Evolution, 67: 3455-3468.