BSc (McGill), MSc (UBC)
DFO Chair, Fisheries Resource Conservation Genetics
|Teaching & Research
Population genetics, evolutionary genetics, molecular ecology, conservation biology, fisheries, fish.
esearch in my laboratory focuses on the population, evolutionary and conservation genetics of fishes and marine organisms. I am interested in how genetic variation is distributed within and among populations, how historical and ongoing processes have shaped the patterns of genetic variation that exist today, and what contemporary patterns of genetic variation can tell us about the history, ecology, evolutionary attributes and conservation status of populations.
Examples of past processes that influence contemporary genetic variation include previous ice ages that forced fishes into refugia where they evolved in isolation for periods of time, and much more recent human-related impacts that have drastically reduced the abundance of some species and populations.
Ongoing processes include environmental and biological factors that influence the extent to which organisms disperse or migrate from one area to another, and natural selection, which governs how organisms are adapted to particular environments. My students and I examine these factors and try to determine how they all mesh together by surveying genetic variation across populations using a variety of molecular techniques.
My students and I also have broad interests in the use of molecular methods to answer questions about the ecology and reproductive biology of organisms. Studies in this category use microsatellites to investigate kinship among individuals within populations, and particularly, which individuals are the offspring of which other individuals.
I also serve as director of the Marine Gene Probe Laboratory, a multi-user laboratory situated in the Department of Biology and dedicated to the application of molecular genetic methods to a variety of biological sub-disciplines, including ecology, evolution, conservation and resource biology.
| Examples of Students' Research
Honors BSc Students
Jensen, P.C. and P. Bentzen. 2012. A molecular dissection of the mating system of the Dungeness Crab, Metacarcinus magister (Brachyura: Cancridae). Journal of Crustacean Biology (in press).
Schwartz, A.K., D. Weese, P. Bentzen, M.T. Kinnison, and A.P. Hendry. 2010. Dispersal, competition, and local adaptation all contribute to mating isolation in guppies. PLoS One 5(12):e15659. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015659
McCusker, M.R. and P. Bentzen. 2010. Historical influences dominate the population genetic structure of a sedentary marine fish, Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus), across the North Atlantic Ocean. Molecular Ecology 19(19):4228-4241.
Bradbury I.R, S. Hubert, B. Higgins, T. Borza, S. Bowman, I. Paterson, P.V.R. Snelgrove, C. Morris, R. Gregory, D.C. Hardie, J.A. Hutchings, D. Ruzzante, C. Taggart and P. Bentzen. 2010. Parallel adaptive evolution of Atlantic cod on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean in response to temperature. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B published online 30; June 2010 doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0985
McCusker, M.R. and P. Bentzen. 2010. Positive relationships between genetic diversity and abundance in fishes. Molecular Ecology doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04822.x.
Bradbury, I.R., M.W. Coulson, A. Cook and P. Bentzen. 2010. Evidence for divergence and adaptive isolation in post-glacially derived bimodal allopatric and sympatric rainbow smelt populations. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 101:583-594.
Dickerson, B.R., R.R. Ream, S.N. Vignieri and P. Bentzen. 2010. Population structure as revealed by mtDNA and microsatellites in northern fur seals, Callorhinus ursinus, throughout their range. PLoS ONE 5(5): e10671. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.001067.
McCusker, M.R. and P. Bentzen. 2010. Phylogeography of three North Atlantic wolffish species (Anarhichas spp.) with phylogenetic relationships within the family Anarhichadidae. Journal of Heredity doi: 10.1093/jhered/esq062
Willing, E.-M. P. Bentzen, M. Hoffmann, C. van Oosterhout, J. Cable, F. Breden, D.Weigel, C. Dreyer. 2010. Genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms reveal population history and adaptive divergence in wild guppies. Molecular Ecology 19:968-984.
Hasselman, D.J., R.G. Bradford and P. Bentzen. 2010. Taking stock: Defining populations of American shad (Alosa sapidissima) in Canada using neutral genetic markers. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 67:1021-1039.
Bradbury, I.R., S.E. Campana and P. Bentzen. 2008. Estimating contemporary early life-history dispersal in an estuarine fish: integrating molecular and otolith elemental approaches. Molecular Ecology 17:1438-1450.
Bentzen, P., J.B. Olsen, J.E. McLean, T.R. Seamons and T.P. Quinn. 2001. Kinship analysis of Pacific salmon: insights into mating, homing, and timing of reproduction. Journal of Heredity 92:127-136.
Hendry, A.P., J.K. Wenburg, P. Bentzen, E.C. Volk, T.P. Quinn. 2000. Rapid evolution of reproductive isolation in the wild: evidence from introduced salmon. Science 290:516-518.
Shaklee, J.B. and P. Bentzen. 1998. Genetic identification of stocks of marine fish and shellfish. Bulletin of Marine Science 62:589-621.
Bentzen, P., C.T. Taggart, D.E. Ruzzante, and D. Cook. 1996. Microsatellite polymorphism and the population structure of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the northwest Atlantic. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 53:2706-2721.