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Michael Blouin in front of shrubbery

Michael S. Blouin

Professor
Benevolent overlord of the intergalactic snail-salmon confederation
Department of Integrative Biology

Michael S. Blouin

Professor
Benevolent overlord of the intergalactic snail-salmon confederation
Department of Integrative Biology

Background

Biography

Mike is an evolutionary biologist who has worked in several areas of applied genetics. These include frog conservation genetics, the evolution of salmon in hatcheries, and how to make snails resistant to transmitting schistosome parasites.

Education

  • Postdoc, Molecular Parasitology, Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Florida, 1991.
  • Ph.D., Quantitative Genetics, Department of Biology, Florida State University, 1989.
  • M.S., Population Genetics, Department of Biology, Florida State University, 1986.
  • B.S., Interdisciplinary/Biology, University of Virginia, 1982.

Research

We study how salmon adapt to hatcheries. Our earlier work using pedigree reconstruction in a population of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) from the Hood River showed that even first generation hatchery fish have lower fitness (production of returning adult offspring) than wild fish when both spawn in the same river. Furthermore, this appears to be a genetically based change and owing to adaptation to the hatchery environment. More recently we have been attempting to determine what traits are under selection in hatcheries, and what changes to the hatchery environment one might make to reduce those selection pressures.

We also study host-parasite compatibility using Biomphalaria glabrata, a snail intermediate host for the human pathogen Schistosoma mansoni. We use genome wide association mapping methods to discover genes that control variation among snails in resistance to transmitting the parasite. We use various methods to functionally characterize those genes, with the ultimate goal of using that information to block the cycle of transmission of schistosomiasis.

Teaching

Courses Taught

  • Bi311 – Genetics (including Honors)
  • Ib513 – Grant Writing

Awards

F.A. Gilfillan Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Science. 2019.

College strategic research areas

Biomedical Science