Conservation genomics of the Endangered North Atlantic right whale

Richard W. Orton


To date, much of my research has focused on the ethology and phylogeography of squamate reptiles. However, I am currently invested in applying population genomics analyses to help resolve questions regarding the reduced recovery rate of the North Atlantic right whale. As a PhD candidate in the Frasier lab at Saint Mary’s University, I will be interrogating genomes to understand the links between demographic history and current levels of genetic diversity. I plan to test specific hypotheses relating to selection against homozygous offspring in the North Atlantic right whale, which could lead to the purging of highly deleterious alleles from the lineage. It is my goal that my thesis, in tandem with a collective body of research at Genome Atlantic, helps guide future conservation efforts in threatened populations.

To see a short video interview with Richard and to learn more about his involvement in the project, click here: