August 2019- We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher and graduate student or technician to join our research team using genomic tools to understand sea turtle resilience to climate change! See the formal advertisement here -deadline for full consideration is Sept 3 2019.

As a female green turtle lays a clutch of eggs, scientists add a tiny data logger to monitor the nest temperature throughout incubation. These data allow scientists to predict how many male and female hatchlings are produced based on the temperatures recorded during the second trimester of incubation. Photo Credit: NOAA Fisheries USFWS Permit #: TE-72088A-2

August 2019- PhD student John Swenson represented the MEC lab presenting his work in progress validating CKMR in elasmobranchs!


July 2019- Very excited to launch our new NSF IOS project on green sea turtle mating systems and climate change resilience with PROJETO TAMAR, FSU and OSU in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil! Check out a short write-up of the project in the Inside UMass Newletter, and please contact if interested in opportunities.

March 2019– Why do we need high quality genomes like those that are the focus of the Vertebrate Genomes Project? Dr. Gavin Naylor wrote a great, accessible piece that explains the rationale behind these efforts. These reasons are well aligned with how we are thinking about these tools for research in our lab with marine turtle genomes and why we are so excited to be part of the VGP efforts. Check it out!

Undersea photo of large shark in blue water with more sharks in background.

Feb 2019- MEC Lab members Sarah Emel, Nadia Fernandez, Lisa Komoroske and Tanya Lama had a great time talking about wildlife genomics with the members of the Brattleboro Conservation Commission in their Winter public lecture series. We are very grateful for the invitations to share our research with the community, and have some fun visiting the middle school science class. Check out our presentations:

Dr. Sarah Emel, Part I: Conservation Genetics

Dr. Lisa Komoroske and Nadia Fernandez, M.S., Part II: Genomics in Wildlife Conservation

Feb 2019- Shreya and Lisa traveled to Charleston to present our work on using genomic tools in marine turtle biology and conservation. Great presentations and discussion in the special genomics symposium, and Shreya nailed her first talk presenting on green turtle and leatherback blood transcriptomes!

Jan 2019- We are so excited to welcome Dr. Amy Teffer as a newly minted 2019 David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow! Dr. Teffer will be working with our lab and Dr. Ben Letcher at the USGS Conte Anadromous Research Center to study disease ecology in restored watersheds with improved connectivity, with particular emphasis on brook trout and effects of dam removal in New England. Welcome Amy!!

Nov 2018– We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher to join our research team studying climate change impacts on California fishes! See the full advertisement here -deadline for full consideration is Jan 15 2019.


Oct 2018– We are thrilled to work with NOAA SWFSC, CA Sea Grant and CA Ocean Protection Council to study the mechanisms of shrinking body sizes in fish under ocean warming! We will be advertising for a post-doctoral researcher to join us on this project soon!

July 2018- Back in the field! Shreya heads down to the leatherback nesting beach at Sandy Point, USVI to get the elusive RNA samples for the genome!

July 2018- Lab technician Shreya Banerjee joined researchers from around the country at DIBSI 2018 at UC Davis to sharpen her bioinformatics skills. Now she’s primed and ready to tackle our marine turtle RNA-Seq  data!

April 2018-

Jan 2018- 

Oct 2017- Wrapped up our RNA-Seq workshop at Scripps Institution of Oceanography-thanks to all the participants, organizers and instructors for a great workshop!! All the materials are available here through SIO Open Data Science.

Sept 2017- Just wrapped up Pacific leatherback in-water field work in Northern California. Despite three weeks of bad weather, equipment failures and other obstacles, our fantastic field team persisted!! Honored to work with such a fun and talented group of researchers at NOAA-SWFSC.

June 2017 – Excited to share this interview, talking about my path in science and dealing with imposter syndrome and diversity issues.

Here comes another amazing #womaninscience – Meet Lisa Komoroske! @LKomoroske #womeninSTEM #womenempoweringwomen


— The female Scientist (@ScientistFemale) June 7, 2017

June 2017 – Curious how to use genetic/genomic tools in sea turtle biology? Check out our new review in Frontiers in Marine Science!

May 2017 – This post is long overdue; things have been busy with travel and, well, life. But I am very excited to soon join the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as an Assistant Professor in Conservation Genomics and Ecophysiology!


I will continue working with NOAA-SWFSC and other West Coast collaborators, and can’t wait to get to know New England and develop projects in East Coast rivers and marine ecosystems. Interested students, technicians and post-docs please contact me at 

February 2017 – Dr. Camryn Allen and I led a necropsy workshop at NOAA-SWFSC with a fantastic group of colleagues and volunteers (thanks to Erin and Joel for organizing!). We have had high numbers of sea turtles strand in the past year in southern California, which we never like to see. But they give us an opportunity to learn so much about their biology and what might have caused their deaths. So many thanks to the hard work of all participants! *note: all turtles necropsied were deceased stranded animals; if you see a stranded turtle or marine mammal, do not handle the animal-please call NOAA or the local authorized California stranding network partner*


December 2016 – Excited to be part of the editorial team for this new Research Topic in Frontiers! Please share with anyone who might be interested in contributing, and contact me with any questions!

October 2016 – Our new Functional Ecology paper on climate change and invasive predator-native prey interactions is featured on NPR – Congratulations Brian!


September 2016 – Despite the best efforts of the Monterey Bay fog to keep us grounded, we had some great weather days for California foraging leatherback aerial surveys and boat research (all research and photos conducted under NOAA permit #15634). Always a privilege to work with this amazing research team in the sky and on the water!


nf57-aerial-team-2    sheilab


September 2016- Up at the gorgeous University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station for the 2016 Conservation Genomics Workshop. Long but rewarding hours crunching big data and connecting with students, post-docs, and PIs from around the world to learn the many ways they are applying genomics techniques in wildlife conservation. Great opening perspective by Fred Allendorf yesterday, followed by Paul Hohenlohe today sharing his group’s hot off the press Nature paper using genomics to understand disease and recovery in Tasmanian devils.

August 2016- It’s been a fun, busy summer of data analysis & manuscripts. Last week we said goodbye to our amazing Cal Poly STAR interns Sarina Fernandez and Warren Asfazadour who are off to take all the inquiry-based science they learned into high school STEM classrooms! Best of luck!!

We did manage to squeeze in some camping in the Washington Olympic Peninsula and San Juan Islands. Refreshed and ready for Fall to begin!


June 2016- It’s been a good week! Our paper demonstrating how sublethal salinity stress contributes to habitat limitation is out too! Evol_Apps_screenshot

June 2016- Our paper investigating how high temperatures affect smelt in extreme California drought is featured as an ‘Inside JEB’ article. Congratulations Dr. Jeffries!

larval delta smelt

Jan. 2016- Our paper combining physiological metrics with climate models is out in PLoSOne! This was a truly collaborative effort with USGS scientists, and I think is a great demonstration of how scientists from different disciplines can synthesize knowledge and help inform management. Check it out:

PLosOne Screenshot

Dec. 2015-I finally had a chance to write a bit more about the SWFSC loggerhead research, and it’s featured on the NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region News page! Check it out here:loggerhead header

Nov. 2015- Our review paper on bycatch is featured on the Frontiers Journal webpage!


Many thanks to UC Davis for helping us make our work open access to facilitate sharing of scientific ideas and advancing conservation goals!

Oct 2015- California loggerhead & green turtle field work

It’s been a busy last few months sampling green turtles in San Diego Bay


  And boat captures and aerial surveys for loggerheads in the Southern California Bight

IMG_2373       IMG_1715

As I am settling back at my desk and into data analyses, I am humbled by the pretty amazing people who coordinate the many moving pieces of these large projects. I will have more on this research coming soon.

In the meantime, let’s all just reflect on the El Niño visitors this year. In addition to loggerhead food all the way up in Bodega Bay, there’s been whale sharks and a yellow-bellied sea snake in the SCB -the northernmost sea snake ever documented in the Pacific Coast of North America according to Greg Pauly. It’s going to be an interesting ‘winter’…

Sept 2015- New Molecular Ecology paper published!


July 2015- Carrie Bow Cay Field Station

Some of you may be familiar with CBC in Belize for its famous, crazy cool hermit crabs. It also is surrounded by diverse coral, mangrove, seagrass communities that make it a pretty kickass  research station.


Now that Brian’s a pro at collecting and spawning the animals, we’re able to make quick work conducting the experiments in the seagrass beds here.  Along with some groPro action to monitor the plots and in lab feeding trials to see who’s eating whom, it’s almost like this is a vacation (except for the late night data entry)! Adding in some late night and early morning patrols to monitor the sea turtle nesting activity and exploring the local mangrove communities, this place is pretty dang special.

IMG_2561      IMG_2512

The facilities and staff here do such an amazing job helping researchers. Wet lab with a sand floor, glassy water with tiller that doesn’t quit, what more could you ask for?


Well, maybe the most perfect outhouse on the planet…


March 2015- If you are in the San Diego area, check out Marine Science Day at SDSU’s marine lab. A great event that is free and has activities geared toward all ages!

MSD with sponsors

February 2015– We are excited to share our article on scientist-K12 STEM collaboration!BioScience.screen.stitch
January 2015- Brian and I have been working down at the STRI Bocas del Toro field station, getting his first set of experiments off the ground. As a Smithsonian MarineGEO postdoc, he’s using the different Smithsonian marine research stations to understand why we see different patterns of invasive species across latitudes.

As we poked around looking for his study species, we were amazed at the biomass and diversity on the mangrove roots! On the right are a few critters we pulled in to look at more closely in the lab. (visit Brian’s blog to learn more, where he’ll be posting info about his project and some cool video of his adorable bryozoan larvae soon!).
mangrove root communities   Tunicates

We also had some fun helping scientist Jason Hodin collect urchins for his NSF work with Brian Gaylord and Matt Ferner investigating species differences in how turbulence affects larval settlement -for a taste of this cool work, check out their recent PNAS paper:
J.Houdin.FlatRockfieldsite                  17.cover

Finally, just for kicks-I found this guy in the seagrass beds near the STRI doc-

September 2014-We’ve had unusually warm water off the California Coast this summer. Since temperature is a very important cue for animals, we’ve had some interesting visitors:
Fishermen find rare green sea turtle outside Golden Gate

SFGate: photo courtesy of the Salty Lady
Photo courtesy of the Salty Lady

To learn more, check out the fantastic Natural History of Bodega Head Blog by Jackie Sones- like this post on unusual visitor hitching a ride on some By-the-wind Sailors (Velella velella)!!


August 2014- Check out coverage of our work of climate change impacts on delta smelt in the Delta Science Newsletter!

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