My name is Madison Armstrong (she/her) and I am a PhD candidate in the Population Biology Graduate group at University of California, Davis working with Dr. Rachael Bay. I am also a trainee of the Sustainable Oceans Program, an NSF-sponsored Research Training program. I am broadly interested in adaptation to marine urban environments and genomic variation associated with environmental change. Specifically, I’m interested in how pollution can increase population isolation, cause developmental abnormalities, and alter the genomes of marine invertebrates in these areas. My study system is the Pacific Purple Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus), a well known developmental model, and I will be using whole genome sequencing to examine differences in selection and connectivity between urban and non-urban areas in California.
I am also extremely passionate about mentorship and science outreach, and as a first-generation scientist and someone who had to advocate for herself the majority of the time, I want to help my students figure out their career goals and achieve them with minimal hardship along the way. I have been actively involved in the student-run Evolution and Ecology Graduate School Preview Program at UC Davis, where our goal is to increase access and transparency to graduate programs, with the purpose of increasing diversity within these fields. I am currently mentoring three undergraduate students, one of who gave their first poster presentation at the 2022 Western Society of Naturalists Conference on her independent research on white urchin larvae, looking at the developmental effects associated with exposure to various doses of an Endocrine Disrupting Chemical (EDC).