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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

2013 - PresentResearch Geneticist, USGS Alaska Science Center
2015 - PresentResearch Associate, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point
2014 - PresentAffiliate Faculty, Utah State University
2009 - PresentAffiliate Faculty, University of Alaska Anchorage
2009 - 2013Geneticist, USGS Alaska Science Center
2009 - 2013Affiliate 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


Total pubs: 47

van Rees, C. B., J. M. Reed, R. E. Wilson, J. G. Underwood, and S. A. Sonsthagen. 2018. Small-scale genetic structure in an endangered wetland specialist: possible effects of landscape change and population recovery. Conservation Genetics 19(1):129-142. doi:10.1007/s10592-017-1020-0 [Details] [Full Publication]

Sonsthagen, S. A., J. C. Williams, G. S. Drew, C. M. White, G. K. Sage, and S. L. Talbot. 2017. Legacy or colonization? Posteruption establishment of peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) on a volcanically active subarctic island. Ecology and Evolution 7(1):107-114. doi:10.1002/ece3.2631 [Details] [Full Publication]

Atwood, T. C., C. Duncan, K. A. Patyk, and S. A. Sonsthagen. 2017. Monitoring the welfare of polar bear populations in a rapidly changing Arctic. Pages 503-529 in Marine Mammal Welfare: Human Induced Change in the Marine Environment and its Impacts on Marine Mammal Welfare, A. Butterworth (ed.). Springer 17, Cham, Switzerland. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-46994-2 [Details] [Full Publication]

Sonsthagen, S. A., R. E. Wilson, and J. G. Underwood. 2017. Genetic implications of bottleneck effects of differing severities on genetic diversity in naturally recovering populations: An example from Hawaiian coot and Hawaiian gallinule. Ecology and Evolution 7(23):9925-9934. doi:10.1002/ece3.3530 [Details] [Full Publication]

Talbot, S., G. K. Sage, S. A. Sonsthagen, M. C. Gravley, T. Swem, J. C. Williams, J. Longmire, S. Ambrose, M. J. Flamme, S. B. Lewis, L. Phillips, C. Anderson, and C. M. White. 2017. Intraspecific evolutionary relationships among peregrine falcons in western North American high latitudes. PLoS One 12(11):e0188185. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0188185 [Details] [Full Publication]

Gorman, K. B., S. L. Talbot, S. A. Sonsthagen, G. K. Sage, M. C. Gravley, W. R. Fraser, and T. D. Williams. 2017. Population genetic structure and gene flow of Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) breeding throughout the western Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctic Science 29(6):499-510. doi:10.1017/S0954102017000293 [Details] [Full Publication]

Doyle, J. M., T. E. Katzner, G. W. Roemer, J. W. Cain, III, B. A. Millsap, C. L. McIntyre, S. A. Sonsthagen, N. B. Fernandez, M. Wheeler, Z. Bulut, P. H. Bloom, and J. A. DeWoody. 2016. Genetic structure and viability selection in the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), a vagile raptor with a Holarctic distribution. Conservation Genetics. doi:10.1007/s10592-016-0863-0 [Details] [Full Publication]

Sonsthagen, S. A., R. E. Wilson, R. T. Chesser, J. M. Pons, P. A. Crochet, A. C. Driskell, and C. J. Dove. 2016. Recurrent hybridization and recent origin obscure phylogenetic relationships within the 'white-headed' gull (Larus sp.) complex. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 103:41-54. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.06.008 [Details] [Full Publication]

Haughey, C. L., G. K. Sage, G. R. DeGange, S. A. Sonsthagen, and S. L. Talbot. 2016. Development of novel microsatellite markers for the Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) and their utility in cross-species amplification. Avian Biology Research 9(3):195-199. doi:10.3184/175815516X14667737479433 [Details] [Full Publication]

Talbot, S. L., S. A. Sonsthagen, J. M. Pearce, and K. T. Scribner. 2015. Phylogenetics, phylogeography and population genetics of North American sea ducks. Pages 29-58 in J-P.L. Savard, D.V. Derksen, D. Esler, and J.M. Eadie, (eds.) Ecology and Conservation of North American Sea Ducks. Studies in Avian Biology 46, 610 p. [Details]

Peacock, E., S. A. Sonsthagen, M. E. Obbard, A. N. Boltunov, E. V. Regehr, N. Ovsyanikov, J. Aars, S. N. Atkinson, G. K. Sage, A. G. Hope, E. Zeyl, L. Bachmann, D. Ehrich, K. T. Scribner, S. C. Amstrup, S. E. Belikov, E. W. Born, A. E. Derocher, I. Stirling, M. K. Taylor, Ø. Wiig, D. Paetkau, and S. L. Talbot. 2015. Implications of the circumpolar genetic structure of polar bears for their conservation in a rapidly warming Arctic. PLoS One 10(1): e112021. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112021 [Details] [Full Publication]

Rosenfield, R. N., S. A. Sonsthagen, W. E. Stout, and S. L. Talbot. 2015. High frequency of extra-pair paternity in a population of urban Cooper's Hawks. Journal of Field Ornithology 86(2):144-152. doi:10.1111/jofo.12097 [Details] [Full Publication]

Ramey, A. M., A. B. Reeves, S. A. Sonsthagen, J. L. TeSlaa, S. Nashold, T. F. Donnelly, B. Casler, and J. S. Hall. 2015. Dispersal of H9N2 influenza A viruses between East Asia and North America by wild birds. Virology 482:79-83. doi:10.1016/j.virol.2015.03.028 [Details] [Full Publication]

Petersen, M. R., G. V. Byrd, S. A. Sonsthagen, and M. G. Sexson. 2015. Re-colonization by common eiders (Somateria mollissima) in the Aleutian Archipelago following removal of introduced arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus). Journal of Avian Biology 46(5):538-549. doi:10.1111/jav.00626 [Details] [Full Publication]

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 15(3):509-520. doi:10.1007/s10592-013-0557-9 [Details] [Full Publication]

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 37(4):497-506. doi:10.1007/s00300-014-1450-9 [Details] [Full Publication]

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 6(3):765-767. doi:10.1007/s12686-014-0210-z [Details] [Full Publication]

Sonsthagen, S. A., T. L. Tibbitts, R. E. Gill, Jr, I. Williams, and S. L. Talbot. 2014. Spatial genetic structure of bristle-thighed curlews (Numenius tahitiensis): breeding area differentiation not reflected on the non-breeding grounds. Conservation Genetics 16(1):223-233. doi:10.1007/s10592-014-0654-4 [Details] [Full Publication]

Pons, J. M., S. A. Sonsthagen, C. J. Dove, and P. A. Crochet. 2014. Extensive mitochondrial introgression in North American Great Black-backed Gulls (Larus marinus) from the American Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus) with little nuclear DNA impact. Heredity 112(3):226-239. doi:10.1038/hdy.2013.98 [Details] [Full Publication]

Sonsthagen, S. A., G. K. Sage, M. C. Fowler, A. G. Hope, J. A. Cook, and S. L. Talbot. 2013. 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, Sorex cinereus. Conservation Genetics Resources 5(2):315-318. doi:10.1007/s12686-012-9792-5 [Details] [Full Publication]

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 Eider in the Western Aleutian Islands prior to fox eradication. Condor 115(1):28-39. doi:10.1525/cond.2012.110054 [Details] [Full Publication]

Wilson, R. E., S. A. Sonsthagen, and J. C. Franson. 2013. Sex determination of duck embryos: observations on syrinx development. Avian Biology Research 6(3):243-246. doi:10.3184/175815513X13739900273488 [Details] [Full Publication]

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

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. The Auk 130(2):342-354. doi:10.1525/auk.2013.12120 [Details] [Full Publication]

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 [Details] [Full Publication]

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 cooperii) populations breeding in north-central and western North America. The Auk 129(3):427-437. doi:10.1525/auk.2012.11166 [Details] [Full Publication]

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(4):1045-1057. doi:10.1007/s10592-012-0352-z [Details] [Full Publication]

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(1):116-122. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.11.031 [Details] [Full Publication]

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

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 (Charadriidae and Scolopacidae). Journal of Ornithology 153(2):593-601. doi:10.1007/s10336-011-0811-1 [Details] [Full Publication]

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 [Details] [Full Publication]

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

Sonsthagen, S. A., S. L. Talbot, K. T. Scribner, and K. G. McCracken. 2011. Multilocus phylogeography and population structure of Common Eiders breeding in North America and Scandinavia. Journal of Biogeography 38(7):1368-1380. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02492.x [Details] [Full Publication]

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. [Details]

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. [Details]

Driskell, A. C., J. A. Norman, S. Pruett-Jones, E. Mangall, S. A. Sonsthagen, and 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. [Details]

Sonsthagen, S. A., S. L. Talbot, R. B. Lanctot, and K. G. McCracken. 2010. Do common eiders nest in kin groups? Microgeographic genetic structure in a philopatric sea duck. Molecular Ecology 2010(19):647-657. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04495.x [Details] [Full Publication]

Sonsthagen, S. A., S. L. Talbot, R. B. Lanctot, K. T. Scribner, and K. G. McCracken. 2009. Hierarchical spatial genetic structure of common eiders (Somateria mollissima) breeding along a migratory corridor. The Auk 126(4):744-754. doi:10.1525/auk.2009.08224 [Details] [Full Publication]

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 Ecology 18:3992-4005. [Details]

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(4):879-894. doi:10.1650/0010-5422(2007)109[878:GCOCEB]2.0.CO;2 [Details] [Full Publication]

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

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. [Details]

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. [Details]

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. [Details]

Sonsthagen, S. A., S. L. Talbot, and C. M. White. 2004. Gene flow and genetic characterization of Northern Goshawks breeding in Utah. Condor 106(4):826-836. [Details] [Full Publication]

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. [Details]

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

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