Diana Baetscher

Molecular ecology and population genetics (and genomics) of fishes

On the ferry, leaving from Bellingham, WA headed to Juneau, AK, April 2021.

I’m a research geneticist at NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center Auke Bay Laboratories (ABL) in Juneau, Alaska.

We use low-coverage whole genome sequence data (lcWGS) to study the population structure and local adaptation of marine fishes, including sablefish, rockfishes, Pacific cod, and salmon.

We’re developing methods to understand the movement of environmental DNA (eDNA) in nearshore environments in SE Alaska and to detect transient species.

eDNA sampling site at the outflow of Peterson Creek (freshwater) and Amalga Harbor (marine) in Juneau, AK, May 2021.

Prior to joining ABL, I was a postdoc with Ken Smith and the Pelagic-Benthic Coupling group at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). My research deployed an in situ large volume water pump to 4000 meters in order to study larval dispersal at depth and as part of a long-term time series on the abyssal seafloor.

Preparing the larval pump (on elevator) for deployment to 1000 meters adjacent to the Monterey Canyon, Moss Landing, CA, March 2021.

Before joining MBARI, I was a postdoc with Nina Overgaard Therkildsen and Pete McIntyre at Cornell University applying DNA metabarcoding to identify which of the oceans’ wild fish stocks are sources for aquaculture feeds.

I completed my PhD in Ocean Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz in March 2019.

Moonlighting as a photo-identification assistant at the Ross Sea ice edge, January 2015.


Multi-locus metabarcoding of marine species mixtures found in aquaculture feeds

Population structure of Alaskan Northern Fulmars and bycatch assignment

Larval dispersal of kelp rockfish across a marine reserve network in central California

Genetic differentiation and stock structure in Atlantic river herrings

Genetic species identification of nearshore Pacific rockfishes



Larson WA, Barry P, Dokai W, Maselko J, Olson J, Baetscher D. “Leveraging eDNA metabarcoding to characterize nearshore fish communities in Southeast Alaska: Do habitat and tide matter?” Environmental DNA. doi.org/10.1002/edn3.297.

Baetscher DS, Beck J, Anderson EC, Ruegg K, Ramey AM, Hatch S, Nevins H, Fitzgerald SM, Garza JC. “Genetic assignment of fisheries bycatch reveals disproportionate mortality among Alaska Northern Fulmar breeding colonies.” Evolutionary Applications. doi: 10.1111/eva.13357.


Locatelli NS, McIntyre PB, Therkildsen NO, Baetscher DS. “GenBank’s reliability is uncertain for biodiversity researchers seeking species-level assignment for eDNA.” PNAS Letter. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2007421117.


Baetscher DS, Anderson EC, Gilbert-Horvath EA, Malone DP, Saarman ET, Carr MH, Garza JC. “Dispersal of a nearshore marine fish connects marine reserves and adjacent fished areas along an open coast.” Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/mec.15044.


Baetscher DS, Clemento A, Ng T, Anderson EC, Garza JC. “Microhaplotypes provide increased power from short-read DNA sequences for relationship inference.” Molecular Ecology Resources. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12737.

Smith JG, Malone D, Baetscher DS, Carr MH. “Evaluation and application of a biopsy device for in-situ non-lethal tissue extraction for fishes.” Marine Ecology Progress Series. doi: 10.3354/meps12575.

Reid K, Hasselman DJ, Palkovacs EP, Baetscher DS, Bentzen P, McBride M, Garza JC. “Range-wide population structure and baseline assessment of anadromous river herring.” Fishery Bulletin. doi: 10.1016/j.fishres.2018.04.014.


Baetscher DS, Hasselman DJ, Reid K, Palkovacs EP, Garza JC. “Discovery and characterization of single nucleotide polymorphisms in two anadromous alosine fishes of conservation concern.” Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.3215.

Heading west on the Western Flyer from Moss Landing to Station M, October 2019.

Thanks for your interest!

diana.baetscher @ noaa.gov

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