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A shallow river flows between two banks covered with trees. Marsh grasses emerge from the water with a small rapid in the foreground.
Information icon Cahaba River. Photo by Paul Johnson, ADCNR.

Conservation genetics lab

Co-located at Warm Springs Fish Technology Center and Auburn University, the Conservation Genetics Lab performs cutting-edge genetics research. We study a variety of aquatic organisms ranging from sturgeon to snails. The lab provides scientific support to national fish hatcheries, and partner with other agencies to use genetic data for improving conservation efforts. We also provide genetic expertise to other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offices to incorporate genetics research into management efforts. Our research projects span the fields of fisheries biology, evolutionary biology, population genetics, and conservation science.


  • Improve conservation outcomes through the use of cutting-edge genetic data;
  • Study how natural populations respond to changing environments;
  • Provide conservation genetics expertise to other Service offices and partners;
  • Perform research on aquatic species systematics, population genetics, and molecular ecology;
  • Develop genetics management plans for at-risk, threatened, and endangered species;
  • Evaluate propagation programs at national fish hatcheries;
  • Train the next generation of conservationists and geneticists.


Nathan Whelan, Regional Geneticist and Lab Director, (334) 844-9562

Ashantye’ Williams, Lab Manager, (334) 844-9563

Nicholas Gladstone, Graduate Research Assistant (Auburn University), (334) 844-9563

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