Salisbury University - Biological Sciences



Population Genetics

Dr. Kimberly Hunter
I am broadly trained in ecology, evolution, systematics, and population genetics. My PhD work focused on the plant genus (Larrea) which is the dominant desert plant in North and South America; we continue to work on this plant in my lab. Some people might say I am obsessed. Our research on Larrea focuses on the secondary metabolite nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA). We are now investigating what these high concentrations of NDGA do for the plant. The chemical is a powerful antioxidant and has been used in many cancer studies. This work is done in collaboration with Dr. Katherine Miller in the SU Chemistry Department. In addition to desert plants, our lab focuses on conservation genetics. We are actively working on an endangered plant in Maryland and we also work with expedition population genetics. Expedition population genetics is done in collaboration with Operation Wallacea in very remote areas of high biodiversity. We have set up mobile genetic labs in Cusco National Park in Honduras for three summers, as well as in Wakatobi National Park, Indonesia. These locations do not have electricity and our equipment is run on a generator that is on for 5-7 hours a day. Therefore, we have to do the molecular work in a much more creative way. The terrain there is often tough; it tests our fitness as well as the limits of our equipment. I encourage students to consider doing this type of field work while an undergraduate.


Chris Frye, State Botanist, Wildlife and Heritage Service, MD Department of Natural Resources 

Ryan Taylor, Salisbury University

Paul J. Harmon, WV Department of Natural Resources

Dave Kelly and Nicola Marples, Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology Group, Trinity College, IR

Iris Peralta, Principal Investigator, Argentine Institute for Arid Zone Research (CONICET)

Ian Hendy, University of Portsmouth, UK

Kelsey Glennon, Syracuse University

Kristin Saltonstall, STRI Panama

Katherine Miller, Salisbury University



Over the years the Hunter Lab has had many different students working in it. Click below to read about what current students are doing and where past students are today.

Graduate Students  Current Undergrads  Past Undergrads


Undergraduate researchers are investigating diverse projects that focus on population genetics in plants and animals. Regions of study include the desert Southwest, Louisana/Maryland, Honduras and Indonesia.

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