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Lucas Nathan

Advisor: Jason Vokoun


My research interests are focused on the utilization of molecular tools and techniques to aid in the conservation and management of our native fisheries.  Additionally, I am interested in studying how landscape-level variation shapes genetic population structuring.


















During the course of my dissertation research, I will be studying brook trout across the state of Connecticut.  Brook trout are native throughout much of the east coast and are known for their restriction to cold, clear, pristine stream habitat.  Due to a number of factors, including riparian development and habitat degradation, and other anthropogenic impacts, they are often times limited to small, isolated populations in headwater streams where conditions remain suitable.  This isolation limits the potential for gene flow across a landscape, which can lead to reduced genetic diversity and can impact the sustainability of local populations.


The goals of my project are to collect brook trout samples across the state to assess contemporary genetic populations.  Through this landscape genetics research we will be able to determine which variables are correalted with decreased brook trout dispersal and population connectivity such as dams, culverts, increased water temperatures, and other environmental factors.  Additionally, I will be studying how connectivity among genetic populations influences other demographic characteristics and long term population viability.  This information will be used to model potential impacts under climate change scenarios and will aid in future brook trout conservation efforts



This research is funded by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environment (DEEP) throught the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program.  I will be working with the DEEP Inland Fisheries Division, who have been extensively studying Connecticut’s brook trout populations for decades.  During my research I will be advised by Dr. Jason Vokoun at UConn and Dr. Amy Welsh at West Virginia University.



To learn more about Lucas's brook trout research, visit the project page - "Not All Those Who Wander are Lost"




Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Center
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
University of Connecticut
1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4087