Education

  • University of Arizona: PhD (Fall 2019-Current)
    • Genetics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Minor
  • Kentucky Wesleyan College: BS (Fall 2016-Spring 2019)
    • Biology and Chemistry (Biochemistry Emphasis); Music Minor

Research

In the Culver Lab, I am combining my lifelong passion for wildlife conservation with my interest in genetics and genomics. Specifically, for my dissertation project I am integrating population genomic and viromic research for Sonoran Desert felids (bobcats, pumas, ocelots, and jaguars) and ungulates (Sonoran pronghorn). The diversity of viruses associated with these species is not well characterized, and, although most viruses do not cause disease, identification of viruses which threaten the viability of populations in conjunction with the identification of at-risk populations will help inform management practices for these species in the future. Analyzing population structure, connectivity, and genetic diversity will allow us to identify possible routes of viral transmission and populations likely to be most susceptible to emerging disease. I am involved in a variety of other projects in the lab, including studying population genomics of the northern crested caracara, and I have previous research experience in lectin-based flavivirus biosensor development and African lion behavioral genetics.

Teaching

Teaching Assistantship

ECOL 182L – Introductory Biology II Lab – Fall 2020

Online Course Design and Grading

WFSC/ECOL/GENE 430/530 – Conservation Genetics – Fall 2020

Recent Publications

Payne N, Kraberger S, Fontenele RS, Schmidlin K, Bergeman MH, Cassaigne I, Culver M, Varsani A, Van Doorslaer K. Novel Circoviruses Detected in Feces of Sonoran Felids. Viruses 2020; 12:1027.

Contact

Email: nataliermercer@email.arizona.edu