I’m Janna Willoughby, a postdoc at Purdue University currently working in the Christie lab. I am interested in evolution, and try to use genetics and genomics to address conservation related questions. Previously, I completed an MS at Central Michigan University and a PhD in FNR at Purdue. Please check out my current or past research projects and also my CV for more information related to my work.
Current Research Summary
As a postdoc, I have worked on two major projects. First, I used modeling to better understand the impacts of supplementation from captive populations. To address this question, I developed forward-time, agent-based models for four species with long-running captive-breeding and release programs and used this model to predict the long-term effects of supplementation. I found that releasing even slightly less fit captive-born individuals to supplement wild populations can result in substantial reductions in population sizes and genetic diversity over the long term, provided that the fitness reductions are heritable.
I am also working to understand how species rapidly adapt to novel environments. My co-authors and I compared the genomes of ocean-going steelhead to steelhead that were successfully introduced into Lake Michigan. We found that Lake Michigan steelhead experienced severe, genome-wide reductions in genetic diversity. Nevertheless, we found evidence of rapid genetic adaptation to the novel freshwater conditions in genes associated with osmoregulation.