KRISTA M. NICHOLSAssociate Professor
My research interests lie at the intersection of evolution, genetics, physiology, and ecology. Currently, my research aims to understand the genetic basis and evolutionary history of variable life history traits, physiologies, adaptations, and ecological specializations in fishes. Great phenotypic variability exists both within and across species of fishes, and with the genetic dissection of these traits, we may better understand the evolutionary forces shaping this variability. I use quantitative genetic and physiological tools in analyses aimed at identifying the genetic architecture of divergent traits. Using molecular and expression techniques, further dissection of genome regions and candidate genes for these traits is achieved. With these combined approaches, we are beginning to understand the number, identity, and expression of genes underlying the standing phenotypic variability among and within fish populations. With this information, we begin to test hypotheses about the evolutionary forces that have shaped this variation. My current and recent research includes genetic dissection of disease resistance, embryonic development, morphology, and seawater adaptation in rainbow and steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).
Ph.D. Washington State University, Biology, 2002
M.S. Michigan State University, Fisheries & Wildlife, 1997
Professional Faculty Research
Evolutionary genetics & genomics, quantitative genetics, and physiological ecology of aquatic organisms