Emma Steigerwald


I am a biologist, dedicated to applying molecular tools to questions in amphibian evolutionary ecology and conservation biology.


Currently a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley, I am co-advised by Dr. Rasmus Nielsen of the Department of Integrative Biology and Dr. Rosemary Gillespie of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. 


I am affiliated with the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley and the Sibinacocha Watershed Project team, an alliance of scientists from diverse disciplines working to promote environmental conservation and the wellbeing of indigenous communities in the Cordillera Vilcanota, where I conduct my field research.

Environmental change genetics


The genetics of

climate-driven range shifts


Our rapidly changing climate is driving species to shift their ranges, both elevationally and latitudinally. I study how contemporary, climate-driven range shifts shape spatial patterns in genetic diversity, and the consequent implications for the adaptation of affected species.


Range shifts and

pathogen evolution

As species' ranges shift and their movement patterns across the landscape change, their pathogens often follow suit. I am asking how climate change may reshape disease transmission routes, and how pathogens may adapt to the new environmental conditions they are exposed to.

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Using eDNA to study the

impact of invasive species 


Invasive species compose another critically important dimension of global change. I am using aquatic environmental DNA to examine the impacts of invasive aquatic predators on native stream communities.