Assistant Professor, Natural Resources and the Environment
My research aims to improve our understanding of how species adapt to their environment, and how quickly they can respond to altered conditions caused by selective harvest, climate change, or other anthropogenic pressures. With a primary focus on marine and anadromous fish, we study how spatial and temporal variation in selection pressures interact to shape patterns of genetic variation within species and explore the roles of ongoing genetic adaptation and geographic distribution shifts in promoting species persistence in our rapidly changing world.
While we integrate across many disciplines, our core tools are high-throughput sequencing approaches that are opening completely new opportunities for population genomic studies of non-model organisms. We use cost-effective methods for full genome screening and often couple studies of contemporary variation with time series of genomic data, which allow for direct tracking of changes over known time scales and therefore provide a unique opportunity to observe recent dynamics and microevolution in retrospective “real time”. We are also keenly interested in exploring ways to leverage genomic analysis to promote sustainable fisheries management and conservation.
Ph.D. in Population Genetics. Section for Population Ecology and Genetics, National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua), Technical University of Denmark, 2012
M.Sc. in Biology, Section for Ecology and Evolution, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 2009
B.A. in Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic, Maine, USA, 2005
Harnessing genomics for conservation and resource management
Locatelli, N. S., McIntyre, P. B., Therkildsen, N. O., and Baetscher, D. S. 2020. GenBank’s reliability is uncertain for biodiversity researchers seeking species-level assignment for eDNA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117:32211-32212.
Wilder, A. P., Palumbi, S. R., Conover, D. O., and Therkildsen, N. O. 2020. Footprints of local adaptation span hundreds of linked genes in the Atlantic silverside genome. Evolution letters 4:430-443.
Clucas, G. V., Lou, R. N., Therkildsen, N. O., and Kovach, A. I. 2019. Novel signals of adaptive genetic variation in northwestern Atlantic cod revealed by whole‐genome sequencing. Evolutionary Applications 12: 1971-1987.
Therkildsen, N. O., Wilder, A. P., Conover, D. O., Munch, S. B., Baumann, H., and Palumbi, S. R. (2019). Contrasting genomic shifts underlie parallel phenotypic evolution in response to fishing. Science 365:487–490
Therkildsen, N. O. and Palumbi, S. R. 2017. Practical low-coverage genomewide sequencing of hundreds of individually barcoded samples for population and evolutionary genomics in nonmodel species. Molecular Ecology Resources 17:194–208.
Kelley, J. L., Brown, A. P., Therkildsen, N. O. and Foote, A. D. 2016. The life aquatic: advances in marine vertebrate genomics. Nature Reviews Genetics 17:523-534.
Awards & Honors
CALS Young Faculty Teaching Award 2021
NTRES 3400: Molecular Tools for Conservation, Ecology and Resource Management
NTRES 6100: Collaborative and Reproducible Data Science in R
NTRES 6300: Current Topics in Molecular Ecology and Population Genomics
NTRES 6600: Research Data Management Seminar in the Environmental Sciences
Over recent decades, many commercially harvested fish have grown slower and matured earlier, which can translate into lower yields and a reduced resilience to overexploitation. Scientists have long suspected that rapid evolutionary change in...