Interdisciplinary Life Science - PULSe Great research is a matter of choice

Anna Fahey

Anna Fahey Profile Picture
Training Group:

Molecular Evolutionary Genetics

Mentor / Lab:

Dr. J. Andrew DeWoody

Specific Research Area / Project:

Historical demography of multiple species of birds from the island of Hispaniola.

Undergraduate Institution:

Washburn University, Topeka, KS


Research Profile:

My research interests include wildlife genetics, evolution, conservation biology, and molecular ecology. I enjoy using genetics to answer questions about wildlife that are cryptic and unanswerable with traditional ecological techniques. Research in our lab has examined a range of organisms, from amphibians to fish to mammals to birds. My research in particular deals with multiple species of birds from the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). By looking at the differences in nucleotide sequences from multiple individuals, I can begin to determine the historical demography of a species (or population), i.e. whether populations have been stable, declining, or expanding since a given time (generally 10,000’s of years ago). I am using these techniques to compare the evolutionary history of migratory and non-migratory species. We have found that migratory species and species whose distribution exceeds that of the Caribbean islands show stronger signs of population expansion. This was what we expected due to their higher mobility and given the possible expansion of breeding grounds as glacial ice sheets retreated.



About Me:

Anna Fahey About Me Picture

Purdue has been a wonderful experience for me. Originally I was leaning towards research in microbiology. However, after rotating through my current lab in the molecular evolutionary genetics training group, I quickly realized it was the lab for me. I have had so many wonderful opportunities during graduate school. Purdue is part of the Organization for Tropical studies, through that program I was able to attend a course on the “Ecology and Conservation of Neotropical Birds.” This was an amazing chance for me to get hands on experience with species similar to those on which I do research. We visited three different biological stations in Costa Rica, exploring dry forest, cloud forest (in the mountains), and the tropical rain forest. Additionally, through my lab, I was able to do field work in New York, collecting sturgeon samples for research. I have also been able to attend many different conferences throughout the US and presented at most of them. These conferences include the Ecological Genomics Conference, Evolution, American Ornithological Union, and a Gordon conference (Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics). These conferences have taken me from coast to coast, to Missouri, Oregon, California, Idaho, and Maine.


Awards:

  • D. Woods Memorial Fund Award, International Programs in Agriculture, Purdue University
  • Women in Science Travel Grant, 2011, Purdue University
  • Purdue Graduate Student Government Travel Grant, 2010, Purdue University
  • Outstanding Poster Award, 2010, Purdue University, FNR Symposium
  • PULSe Travel Grant, 2009 and 2010, Purdue University
  • Research Assistantship, 2007-2008, Purdue University, PULSe program

Publications:

  • A.L. Fahey, R.E. Ricklefs, and J.A. DeWoody. Comparative Historical Demography: Migrant and Breeding Resident Birds from Hispaniola. Evolutionary Biology, 2011; Submitted.
  • E. Bellemain, O. Gaggiotti, A.L. Fahey, E. Bermingham, R.E. Ricklefs. Demographic History and Genetic Diversity in West Indian Coereba flaveola Populations. Genetica. 2011; Submitted.
  • A.L. Fahey. Determining Historical Demography of a Region by Studying Multiple Bird Species. Compass, Fall 2010.

Presentations:

  • A.L. Fahey. "A bird's eye view: comparative historical demography of migrant and non-migrant species in the Caribbean." Ecolunch seminar, Purdue University, November 2011.
  • A.L. Fahey, R.E. Ricklefs, and J.A. DeWoody. "A bird's eye view: comparative historical demography of migrant and non-migrant species in the Caribbean." Gordon Research: Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics, Biddeford, ME. July 10-15th, 2011. Poster presentation.
  • A.L. Fahey, R.E. Ricklefs, and J.A. DeWoody. "Inferring Demographic Histories Across Multiple Avian Lineages from Hispaniola." Interdisciplinary Graduate Program Reception, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. April 20th, 2011. Poster presentation.
  • A.L. Fahey, R.E. Ricklefs, and J.A. DeWoody. "Comparative Historical Demography: Migrant and Breeding Resident Birds from Hispaniola." Society for the Study of Evolution, National Chapter, Portland, OR. June 25-29th, 2010. Oral presentation.
  • A.L. Fahey, R.E. Ricklefs, and J.A. DeWoody. "Inferring Demographic Histories Across Multiple Avian Lineages from Hispaniola." Forestry and Natural Resources Symposium, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. April 18th, 2010. Poster presentation.
  • A.L. Fahey, R.E. Ricklefs, and J.A. DeWoody. "Inferring Demographic Histories Across Multiple Avian Lineages from Hispaniola." American Ornithologist’s Union, National Chapter, San Diego, CA. February 7-11th, 2010. Oral presentation.
  • A.L. Fahey, R.E. Ricklefs, and J.A. DeWoody. "Inferring Phylogenetic and Demographic Histories Across Multiple Avian Lineages from Hispaniola." Society for the Study of Evolution, National Chapter, Moscow, ID. June 12-16th, 2009. Poster presentation.

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