Michael Buchalski, Ph.D., Research Scientist III
Since 2016, I have led a team of post-doctoral and graduate researchers within the CDFW Genetics Research Laboratory conducting statewide genetics research. I have a broad range of research interests which lie at the intersections of evolutionary biology, ecology, behavior, and biological conservation. My current research primarily focuses on characterizing both neutral and adaptive variation for several of California’s wide-ranging species to better delineate conservation units and protect biodiversity. I am currently collaborating on several California Conservation Genomics Project (opens in new tab) funded studies.
I use a combination of genetic and genomic techniques to investigate numerous questions related to the conservation and management of wildlife species. I use traditional population genetic methodologies to investigate questions fundamental to the field of conservation genetics, including genetic variability, population connectivity and gene flow, as well as small population effects such as genetic drift and inbreeding. I use non-invasive genetic techniques to assist with applied management problems such as species identification and individual genotyping for abundance estimation.
Kristen Ahrens, MS, Research Scientist I
Kristen is a Research Scientist I and has worked at the CDFW Genetics Research Laboratory since 2019. Prior to joining the Wildlife Genetics Program, her previous research experience included use of environmental DNA and population genetic approaches for species monitoring and management. Her current work is focused on use of RAD-seq methods to conduct a landscape-level study on invasive nutria to aid eradication efforts through better understanding of the invasion dynamics. She is also responsible for the optimization and implementation of multiple genetic assays that support ongoing monitoring projects. Her work includes mountain lion fecal genotyping for population density estimates and Greater White-fronted Goose subspecies typing to refine harvest limits.
Kristen is a part-time lecturer at Sacramento State University in the Department of Biological Sciences where she teaches an undergraduate mammalogy lecture and lab course.
Alicia Kubicki, B.S., Fish and Wildlife Scientific Aid
Alicia is a Scientific Aid who joined the CDFW Genetics Research Lab in 2019. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Biology from the University of California, Davis. She has a background in disease ecology and researched infectious diseases in rodents for her undergraduate thesis. Alicia assists with various management and monitoring projects for California species including mountain lion and bobcat. She maintains the tissue and DNA archive and helps train volunteers.
Alicia has experience in Sanger sequencing, use of automated DNA extraction robotics, as well as genotyping and species-typing using Fluidigm chemistry.