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Emma Steigerwald

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


I am a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz, working with Dr. Beth Shapiro and the Paleogenomics Lab and  based in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

I did my PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. There, I was 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, and was an affiliate of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

Environmental change genomics


The evolutionary ecology of

climate-driven range shifts


All over the world, countless species are undergoing elevational and latitudinal range shifts in response to our rapidly changing climate. I am using low-coverage whole genome data to 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 and patterns of connectivity across the landscape change, their pathogens and parasites frequently accompany them. Using pathogen load and genomic data, I am asking how the climate-driven range shifts of hosts may reshape disease transmission and infection outcomes.

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Using eDNA to study the

impact of invasive species 


Invasive species compose another critically important dimension of global change biology. I am using aquatic environmental DNA to examine the impacts of invasive aquatic predators on native stream communities, with a particular interest in implications for amphibian diversity. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in academia

Academia is not currently representative of the rich perspectives and backgrounds diverse scholars can bring to the table. I hope to contribute to making the scientific community more  welcoming and our research products more accessible.


As chair of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology working group on Translation, I have been privileged to work with some incredibly thoughtful scholars as we 

Here's to making science better through swinging the doors wide open!

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