Wesley Wright

I joined the Evolutionary Applications Lab (Kinnison Lab) in 2002. Before joining the lab I began my research career at UMaine in 1976 as a biological technician with the US Forest Service. From 1980 I served as support research staff as technician, assistant  scientist and lab manager for a number of research programs in what is now the School of Biology and Ecology.  I thank my undergraduate academic advisor Prof. W. J. V. Babcock at Eastern Nazarene College for instilling in me a love for ecology.  I also thank Prof. R. L. Vadas at UMaine for helping me develop  professionally during  the 22 years I worked in his lab.

Over the years I have been involved in numerous research projects. Some of the more significant ones include white-tail deer behavior, bird predation on the spruce budworm, budworm population assessment, seaweed ecology and recruitment, sea urchin reproductive ecology, shadbush and gymnosperm phylogeny, rare orchid population dynamics and song and shorebird migration.

As the professional research support person for the Kinnison lab, I have assisted graduate students with their projects and overseen lab activities. I developed the recirculating cold water fish facility in Murray Hall for the rearing of Arctic charr and Atlantic salmon eggs and for maintaining small numbers of fish. I also developed the warm water fish facility for housing guppy/mosquitofish populations for studies of eco-evolutionary dynamics and contemporary evolution. Since 2003 I have participated in Arctic charr population monitoring in Floods Pond  and recently have managed that effort. I officially retired in June 2015, but I continue to be involved on a part-time basis.

Currently,  I continue to act as lab coordinator for the Kinnison lab and am involved in helping grad students with the environmental DNA projects and enlarging the mosquitofish facility. I am working on a sea-run brook trout study which focuses on developing a non-lethal technique, using stable isotopes as a proxy for otolith analysis, for detecting marine migration. Also, I am working on a population genetics analysis to distinguish between Maine’s wild brook trout populations and populations influenced by past hatchery stocking.