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Alaska Science Center

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Sarah A. Sonsthagen

Title: Research Geneticist
Address: 4210 University Dr., Anchorage, AK 99508-4626
Phone: (907) 786-7054
Fax: (907) 786-7021

Education and/or Training

Ph.D.2006University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK Biological Sciences
M.S.2002Brigham Young University, Provo, UT Zoology
B.S.2000University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI Biology

Areas of Specialization and/or Research Interests

Evolutionary and population genetics of vertebrates

Professional Experience

2009 - PresentGeneticist, USGS Alaska Science Center
2009 - PresentAffiliate Faculty, University of Alaska Anchorage
2009 - PresentAffiliate Faculty, Alaska Pacific University
2008 - 2009Post-doctoral Fellow, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution
2006 - 2008Post-doctoral Fellow, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
2002 - 2006Graduate Research Assistant, University of Alaska Fairbanks
2002 - 2005Wildlife Biologist, USGS, Alaska Science Center
2000 - 2002Graduate Research Assistant, Brigham Young University

Professional Activities and/or Memberships

Sea Duck Joint Venture Continental Technical Team Member
Wilson Ornithological Society Research Grants Review Committee Member

Significant Recent Publications

Sonsthagen, S. A., R. E. Wilson, and J. G. Underwood. 2014. Development and characterization of microsatellite markers for the Hawaiian Coot, Fulica alai, and Hawaiian Gallinule, Gallinula galeata sandvicensis, through next-generation sequencing. Conservation Genetics Resources, In Press.

Peters, J. L., S. A. Sonsthagen, P. Lavretsky, M. Rezsutek, W. P. Johnson, and K. G. McCracken. 2014. Interspecific hybridization contributes to high genetic diversity and apparent effective populations size in an endemic population of mottled ducks (Anas fulvigula maculosa). Conservation Genetics, In Press.

Sonsthagen, S. A., K. Fales, C. V. Jay, G. K. Sage, and S. L. Talbot. 2014. Spatial variation and low diversity in the Major Histocompatibility Complex in walrus (Odobenus rosmarus). Polar Biology, In Press.

Bayard del Volo, S., R. T. Reynolds, S. A. Sonsthagen, S. L. Talbot, and M. F. Antolin. 2013. Phylogeography, post-glacial gene flow and population history of North American goshawks. Auk 130(2):342-354. doi: 10.1525/auk.2013.12120

Wilson, R. E., S. A. Sonsthagen, and J. C. Franson. 2013. Sex identification of duck embryos and note on embryonic syrinx development of sexual dimorphism. Avian Biology Research 6(3):243-246. doi: 0.3184/175815513X13739900273488

White, C. M., S. A. Sonsthagen, S. L. Talbot, G. K. Sage, C. M. Anderson, T. Maechtle, and J. Longmire. 2013. Genetic relationships among some subspecies of Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus L.), inferred from mitochondrial DNA control region sequences. Auk. 130(1):78-87. doi: 10.1525/auk.2012.11173

Sonsthagen, S. A., G. K. Sage, M. Fowler, A. G. Hope, J. A. Cook, and S. L.Talbot. 2012. Development and characterization of 21 polymorphic microsatellite markers for the barren-ground shrew, Sorex ugyunak (Mammalia: Sorcidae), through next-generation sequencing, and cross-species amplification in the masked shrew, S. cinereus. Conservation Genetics Resources, doi: 10.1007/s12686-012-9792-5.

Sonsthagen, S. A., S. L. Talbot, R. E. Wilson, M. R. Petersen, G. V. Byrd, J. C. Williams, and K. G. McCracken. 2013. Genetic structure of the Common Eiders in the western Aleutian Islands prior to fox eradication. Condor 115:28-39. doi: 10.1525/cond.2012.110054

Sonsthagen, S. A., C. V. Jay, A. S. Fischbach, G. K. Sage, and S. L. Talbot. 2012. Spatial genetic structure and asymmetrical gene flow within the Pacific walrus. Journal of Mammalogy 93(6):1512-1524. doi: 10.1644/11-MAMM-A-344.1

Gangoso, L., M. Alcaide, J. M. Grande, J. Munoz, S. L. Talbot, S. A. Sonsthagen, G. K. Sage, and J. Figuerola. 2012. Colonizing the world in spite of reduced MHC variation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 25(7):1438-1447. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2012.02529.x

Sonsthagen, S. A., R. T. Chesser, D. A. Bell, and C. J. Dove. 2012. Hybridization among Arctic white-headed gulls (Larus spp.) obscures the genetic legacy of the Pleistocene. Ecology and Evolution, 2(6):1278-1295. doi: 10.1002/ece3.240

Sonsthagen, S. A., E. L. McClaren, F. I. Doyle, K. Titus, G. K. Sage, R. E. Wilson, J. R. Gust, and S. L. Talbot. 2012. Identification of metapopulation dynamics in Northern Goshawk of the Alexander Archipelago and coastal British Columbia. Conservation Genetics, 13:1045-1057. doi: 10.1007/s10592-012-0352-z

Sonsthagen, S. A., R. N. Rosenfield, J. Bielefeldt, R. K. Murphy, A. C. Stewart, W. E. Stout, T. G. Driscoll, M. A. Bozek, B. L. Sloss, and S. L. Talbot. 2012. Genetic and morphological divergence among Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperi) populations breeding in north-central and western North America. The Auk 129:1-11.

Williams, I., B. M. Guzzetti, J. R. Gust, G. K. Sage, R. E. Gill Jr., T. L. Tibbitts, S. A. Sonsthagen, and S.L. Talbot. 2012. Polymorphic microsatellite loci identified through development and cross-species amplification within shorebirds. Journal of Ornithology. 153:593-601. doi: 10.1007/s10336-011-0811-1

Sonsthagen, S. A., T. J. Coonan, B. C. Latta, G. K. Sage, and S. L. Talbot. 2012. Effect of a recent colonization on genetic diversity of a territorial raptor the Golden Eagle. Biological Conservation 146:116-122.doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.11.031

Wilson, R. E., M. D. Eaton, S. A. Sonsthagen, J. L. Peters, K. P. Johnson, B. Simarra, and K. G. McCracken. 2011. Speciation and subspecies divergence in Cinnamon Teal and Blue-winged Teal. Condor 13:747–761.

Cibois, A., J. S. Beadell, G. R. Graves, E. Pasquet, B. Slika, S. A. Sonsthagen, J. C. Thibault, and R. C. Fleischer. 2011. Charting the course of reed-warblers across the Pacific islands. Journal of Biogeography 38:1963–1975.

Talbot, S. L., A. G. Palmer, G. K. Sage, S. A. Sonsthagen, T. Swem, D. J. Brimm, and C. M. White. 2011. Lack of genetic polymorphism within Peregrine Falcons of Fiji. Journal of Avian Biology. 42:415–428.

Driskell, A. C., Norman, J. A., S. Pruett-Jones, E. Mangall, S. A. Sonsthagen, L. Christidis. 2011. A multigene phylogeny examining evolutionary and ecological relationships in the Australo-Papuan wrens of the subfamily Malurinae (Aves). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 60:480–485.

Sonsthagen, S. A., S. L. Talbot, K. T. Scribner, and K. G. McCracken. 2011. Multilocus phylogeography of Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima) breeding in North America and Scandinavia. Journal of Biogeography 38:1368–1380.

Sonsthagen, S. A., S. L. Talbot, R. B. Lanctot, and K. G. McCracken. 2010. Do waterfowl nest in kin groups? Microgeographic structure in a philopatric seaduck. Molecular Ecology19:647–657.

Sonsthagen, S. A., S. L. Talbot, R. B. Lanctot, K. Scribner, and K. G. McCracken. 2009. Hierarchical spatial genetic structure of Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima) along a migratory corridor. Auk126:744–754. (cover)

McCracken, K. G., C. P. Barger, M. Bulgarella, K. P. Johnson, S. A. Sonsthagen, T.H. Valqui, R.E. Wilson, K. Winker, and M.D. Sorenson. 2009. Parallel adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia in the major hemoglobin of eight Andean duck species. Molecular Ecology18:3992–4005.

Sonsthagen, S. A., S. L. Talbot, and K. G. McCracken. 2007. Genetic characterization of Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima) breeding in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska. Condor 109:879–894.

Cooper, S. J., and S. Sonsthagen. 2007. Heat production from foraging activity contributes to thermoregulation in Black-capped Chickadees. Condor 109:446–451.

Wilson, R. E., S. A. Sonsthagen, C. P. Barger, and K. G. McCracken. 2007. Asymmetric molt or feather wear in Flying Steamer Ducks (Tachyeres patachonicus) from coastal habitats in Argentina. Ornitologia Neotropical 18:293–300.

Sonsthagen, S. A., R. Rodriguez, and C. M. White. 2006. Satellite telemetry of Northern Goshawks breeding in Utah-I. Annual movements. Studies in Avian Biology 31:239–251.

Sonsthagen, S. A., R. Rodriguez, and C. M. White. 2006. Satellite telemetry of Northern Goshawks breeding in Utah-II. Annual habitats. Studies in Avian Biology 31:252–259.

Sonsthagen, S. A., S. L. Talbot, and C. M. White. 2004. Gene flow and genetic characterization of Northern Goshawks breeding in Utah. Condor 106:826–836.

Gustavson, K. E., S. A. Sonsthagen, R. Crunkilton, and J. M. Harkin. 2000. Groundwater toxicity assessment using bioassay, chemical, and TIE analyses. Environmental Toxicology 15:421–430.

Rosenfield, R. N., J. Bielefeldt, S. Sonsthagen, and T. Booms. 2000. Comparable reproductive success at conifer plantation and non-plantation nest sites for Cooper’s Hawks in Wisconsin. Wilson Bulletin 112:417–421.

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