Starting in January 2018, The Genetics Cat (or The G-CAT for short) is a scientific blog dedicated to sharing information and ideas relating to evolutionary and conservation genetics, academic research and the environment. Occasionally, I include posts on other adjacent topics or various ad hoc inspirations. The G-CAT is written for a broad but interested audience, and thus aims to be accessible to as many people as possible.
My name is Sean Buckley, and I am a conservation/evolutionary geneticist at the University of Western Australia. I have always lived in Australia, and my passion for the natural world and biodiversity inspired me to pursue a career in conservation. I am also a member of “500 Queer Scientists”, a campaign that promotes LGBTQIA+ representation within STEM.
My research interests span various aspects of conservation and evolutionary genetics – particularly, I am interested in how genetic information can be applied to complex evolutionary questions and the conservation management of threatened species. I have a keen interest in the interaction of environmental and evolutionary history and how these processes steer the evolution of species – from speciation to adaptive potential and informing conservation decisions such as translocations and genetic rescue.
My research spans various subfields, but my initial background was in phylogenetics, phylogeography and biogeography – that is, how changes in the environment over millions of years have shaped the evolution of species (using genetics). For both my Honours and my PhD (based in the Molecular Ecology Lab at Flinders University (MELFU)), these questions were aimed at a group of small endangered freshwater fishes endemic to Australia – the pygmy perches. Through my PhD – completed in 2020 – I demonstrated how historical and major changes in the environment of southeast Australia shaped the evolution of pygmy perches, and the ramifications of this for our ongoing conservation efforts. These patterns were contrasting in the southwest, where long-term climatic stability allowed species to accumulate in the formation of a biodiversity hotspot.
I have taught in multiple conservation genetics since 2017, including as a tutor for the 3rd year biology topic “Conservation and Ecological Genetics” at Flinders University. I love teaching conservation, genetics and evolutionary theory and always welcome the opportunity to engage with others, regardless of background or prior knowledge.
Feel free to head over to my Contact page if you would like to ask a question, or just to have a chat! I can also be found on the following platforms:
Facebook: The G-CAT (@TheGeneticsCat)
LinkedIn: Sean Buckley