John Powell

John Powell, PhD Candidate


Department of Ecology
Montana State University
PO Box 173460
Bozeman, MT 59717

Phone 406-994-3698

M.S. Biology, Leland Stanford Jr. University, 2009

B.S. Wildlife Biology, University of Montana, Missoula, 2006

Research Interest

  • Conservation Genetics
  • Fisheries Ecology
  • Population Genetics
  • Molecular Evolution

Current Projects
My dissertation research is focused on the patterns and role of genetic variation in natural populations. First I will be examining the effects of broadscale landscape features on the connectivity of populations. To understand the relationship between the landscape and the genetic structure of populations, we are working with a migratory terrestrial species (mule deer) and a phylopatric fish species (westslope cutthroat trout). In choosing species with high and low levels of population structure, I will explore techniques for separating effects of landscape features from the random noise of genetic drift. Finally, I will be looking into the relationship between individual genetic variation and reproductive output in a population of Weddell seals from Erebus Bay, Antarctica. Understanding the effects of the landscape on structuring genetic variation within a species, and the role individual genetic variation plays in determining reproductive output are two major requirements for interpreting population genetic data in conservation situations. Therefore, an overarching goal of my research is to facilitate the use of information on population genetic variation in developing conservation and management plans for wildlife.