Dr. McCartney's zebra mussel lab gains new team members
Dr. Michael McCartney is at the epicenter of zebra mussel research in Minnesota, and now has new staff members on his team: postdoctoral researcher Dr. Sophie Mallez, laboratory assistant Sarah Peterson, and undergraduate student Michael Verhoeven.
Dr. Mallez’s research at MAISRC will focus on aspects of the population genetics and genomics of zebra mussels with the goal of understanding invasion sources and pathways of spread through Minnesota, the Upper Mississippi River, and the Great Lakes basin. Dr. Mallez is an expert in analysis of invasion genetic models, which she used in her doctoral research at the Sophia Agrobiotech Institute at the University of Nice, Sophia-Antipolis, France. She earned her master’s degree in Ecology, Biodiversity and Evolution from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris. Her past research investigated the pathways of invasion of Europe by the pinewood nematode, an organism that causes pine wilt disease in Europe and Asia. We look forward to collaborating with her on zebra mussel invasion pathway research!
Sarah Peterson joined the McCartney lab in late 2014 and has continued her work on zebra mussel veliger larvae collected from Minnesota lakes and streams. She completed the analysis of samples from last summer’s studies on the Pelican and Gull Rivers, which allowed us to examine dispersal of veligers downstream in those rivers. Additionally, she completed work on Lake Winnibigoshish, where she found veligers to be present – but in very small numbers – in our summer 2014 plankton tows.
Michael Verhoeven, an undergraduate student, is also working on veliger larvae. He is using digital microscopic images to gather data on size-frequency distributions, with the goal to use these to estimate mortality of larvae in the plankton of a select group of Minnesota lakes.
We are delighted to welcome these new staff members to the McCartney Lab!