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Conservation Genetics of Freshwater Mussels

Freshwater mussels are recognized as one of the most endangered group of organisms in the world. Scaleshell musselI am currently working on improving our understanding of phylogeography, population structure and genetic variation in freshwater mussels using a variety of molecular tools. I am also interested in understanding the role of processes such as gene flow and natural selection in maintaining genetic variation. 

Ongoing projects in my lab include questions related to species delineation in the genus Cyprogenia; understanding the impacts of gender mediated gene flow; comparing the genetic diversity and population structure of closely related common and endangered species.

Louisiana Pearlshell

One of the first steps towards the long-term conservation of freshwater mussels is understanding the distribution of genetic diversity within a  species.

The entire range of Margaritifera hembeli is contained within two parishes in Louisiana.
My research is investigating the relationship of M. hembeli to other margaritiferids as well as the the distribution of genetic variation across its range in both space and time

Jer Pin Chong

picture of me holding an endangered pink mucket
Area of Expertise: 
Population Genetics, Conservation Biology, Freshwater mussels

Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society Meeting in St. Charles, Missouri

Jer Pin Chong and I attended the bi-annual meeting of the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society in St. Charles, Missouri this past week. The meeting was well attended and there were a number of interesting talks.

Jer Pin presented some of his dissertation research comparing the genetic structure of two sister-species Leptodea fragilis and Leptodea leptodon and their fish-host, Aplodinotus grunniens. The talk was very well received, and Jer Pin received Honorable Mention for best student oral presentation at the meeting! Congratulations Jer Pin!