Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Jan McDowell

Molecular Biologist/Marine Scientist III

Email : [[mcdowell]]
Phone : (804) 684-7263
Office : Chesapeake Bay Hall N206
Department : Fisheries Science

Curriculum Vitae

Jan McDowell's CV

  • B.S. University of Iowa
  • Ph.D. College of William and Mary
Research Interests

Our research interests are in the areas of population genetics, conservation genetics, systematics, molecular ecology and evolutionary biology. We use molecular markers study the forces that shape and maintain population structure in the marine realm.  Many of our research questions ultimately focus on the effects of genetic structure on the management and conservation of marine species.

Some of our current projects include
  • Genetic investigation into the distinctiveness of tautog, Tautoga onitis, off the coast of Virginia.
  •  Stock structure and connectivity of speckled trout (Cynoscion nebulosus) in Virginia and North Carolina.
  • Estimation of the levels of genetic diversity and genetic connectivity among populations of the blue shark Prionace glauca at a global scale.
  • Genetic tagging of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus).
  • De novo marker discovery in the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica.
  • Genetic tracking of an oyster restoration project in the Lafayette River, Virginia
  • Population Genetic Analyses of Atlantic Istiophorid Billfishes.
  • Discrimination of cownose ray, Rhinoptera bonasus, stocks based on microsatellite DNA markers.
  • Genetic investigation of Gymnura micrura in US Gulf of Mexico and western North Atlantic waters.
Lab members
  • Ana Verissimo, post doctoral researcher CIBIO -
    • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources Campus Agrário de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal & VIMS - Virginia Institute of Marine Science Route 1208, Greate Road, Gloucester Point, VA 23062, USA

Current Graduate Students

Former Graduate Students

  • Laurie Sorenson (co-advised with John Graves)

Undergraduate Researchers

  • Pearce Cooper (NSF REU 2012)
  • Martin Wong (NSF REU 2013)
  • Meredith Seitz (William and Mary, 2013)
  • Jingwei Song  (NSF REU 2014)
Courses Taught
  • MSCI 583       Bioinformatics
  • MSCI 673       Marine Molecular Genetics
  • MSCI 674       Marine Molecular Genetics Laboratory 
  • Hill-Spanik, K, J.R. McDowell, N.A. Stokes, K.S. Reece, E.M. Burreson, R.B. Carnegie. Phylogeographic perspective on the distribution and dispersal of a marine pathogen, oyster parasite Bonamia exitiosa. Submitted to MEPS November, 2014. Under review.
  • Fisher, R.A, J.R. McDowell, and G.C. Call, 2014. Reproductive variations in the cownose ray (Rhinoptera bonasus) from Chesapeake Bay. Environmental Biology of Fishes 97:1031-1038.
  • Graves, J.E., J.R. McDowell (2014) Population structure of Istiophorid billfishes. Fisheries Research. Please
  • Pagenkopp Lohan, K., J.R. McDowell, J.D. Shields, K.S. Reece (2014) Genotypic variation in the parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium perezi along the Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia Marine Biology 161: 261-273.
  • Sorenson, L. J.R. McDowell, T. Knott, J.E Graves (2013) Assignment test method using hypervariable markers for blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) stock identification. Conservation Genet Resour 5: 293-297.
  • Verissimo, A., J.R. McDowell, and J.E. Graves (2012) Genetic population structure and connectivity in a commercially exploited and wide-ranging deepwater shark, the leafscale gulper Centrophorus squamosus. Marine and Freshwater Research 63: 505-512.
  • O'Meara D., C. Edwards, P. Sleeman, T. Cross, M. Statham, J.R. McDowell, E. Dillane, J. Coughlan, D. O'Leary, C. O'Reilly, D. Bradley, J. Carlsson, (2012). Genetic structure of Eurasian badgers Meles meles (Carnivora: Mustelidae) and the colonisation history of Ireland. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 893-909.
  • Pagenkopp-Lohan, K.M., J.R McDowell, J. Shields, J. Xiao, T. Miller, K.S. Reece. (2012) Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci for the parasitic dinoflagellate, Hematodinium perezi, a parasite of Callinectes sapidus. Molecular Ecology Resources.12: 570-572.
  • Sorenson L. L., J.R. McDowell, J.E. Graves. (2011) Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers for blue marlin, Makaira nigricans. Conservation Genetics Resources, 3 (4): 721.
  • Veríssimo A., J.R. McDowell, J.E. Graves JE (2011). Population structure of a deepwater squaloid shark, the Portuguese dogfish Centroscymnus coelolepis. ICES Journal of Marine Science. 68:555-563.
  • Verissimo, A, D. Grubbs, J.R. McDowell, J. Musick, D. Portnoy (2011) Frequency of multiple paternity in the Spiny dogfish, Squalus acanthius, in the western Atlantic. Journal of Heredity 102:88-93.
  • Veríssimo A, T. Moura T, J.R. McDowell , J.E. Graves, L Gordo, R. Hoelzel. (2011). Isolation and characterization of ten nuclear microsatellite loci for the Portuguese dogfish Centroscymnus coelolepis. Conservation Genetic Resources. 3:299-301
  • Veríssimo A, D. Grubbs, J. McDowell, J. Musick J, D. Portnoy D (2011). Frequency of Multiple paternity in the spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias in the western North Atlantic. Journal of Heredity, 102:88-93.
  • Portnoy, D.S., J. R. McDowell, E. J. Heist, J. A. Musick, J. E. Graves (2010). World phylogeography and male mediated gene flow in the sandbar shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus. Molecular Ecology Molecular Ecology 19:1994-2010.
  • Veríssimo, A, J.R. McDowell, and J. E. Graves. 2010. Global population structure of the spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias, a temperate shark with an antitropical distribution. Molecular Ecology 19:1651-1662.
  • Lynch, A., J.R. McDowell and J.E. Graves (2010). A molecular genetic investigation of the population structure of Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus). Fishery Bulletin 108:87–97.
  • Gray, K.N., J.R. McDowell, B.B. Collette, J.E. Graves (2009). A molecular phylogeny of the remoras and their relatives. Bulletin of Marine Science. 84: 183-198.
  • Gray, K.N., J.R. McDowell, B.B. Collette, J.E. Graves (2009). An investigation of the global population structure of the marlinsucker (Remora osteochir) inferred from mitochondrial control region DNA sequences. Bulletin of Marine Science. 84: 25-42.
  • Portnoy, D.S., J.R. McDowell, C.T. McCandless, J.A. Musick, J.E. Graves (2008). Effective size closely approximates the census size in the heavily exploited western Atlantic population of sandbar shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus. Conservation Genetics. 10: 1697-1705.
  • Chandler, E.A., J.R. McDowell, J.E. Graves (2008). Genetically monomorphic invasive populations of the rapa whelk, Rapana venosa. Molecular Ecology. 17: 4079-4091.
  • McDowell, J.R., J.E. Graves (2008). Microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA analyses of striped marlin (Tetrapturus audax) population structure in the Pacific Ocean. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 65: 1307-1320.
  • Brendtro, K.S., J.R McDowell, J.E. Graves (2008). Population genetic structure of escolar (Lepidocybium flavobrunneum). Marine Biology. 155: 11-22.
  • Paine, M.A., J.R. McDowell, J.E. Graves (2008). Specific identification using COI analysis of scombrid larvae collected off the Kona coast of Hawaii. Ichthyological Research. 55(1): 7.
  • McDowell, J.R., J.E.L. Carlsson, J.E. Graves (2007). Genetic analysis of blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) stock structure in the Atlantic Ocean. Gulf and Caribbean Research. 19: 75-82.
  • Paine, M.A., J.R. McDowell, J.R., J.E. Graves (2007). Specific identification of Atlantic Ocean Scombrids using mitochondrial DNA cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene region sequences. Bulletin of Marince Science. 80: 353-367.
  • Carlsson, J.C., J.R. McDowell, J.E.L. Carlsson, J.E. Graves (2007). Microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA analyses of young-of-the-year Atlantic bluefin tuna reveal population structure in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Journal of Heredity. 98: 23-28.
  • Collette B.B., J.R. McDowell, J.E. Graves (2006). Phylogeny of recent billfishes (Xiphiodei). Bulletin of Marine Science. Bulletin of Marine Science. 79: 455-468.
  • Graves, J.E., J.R. McDowell (2006). Genetic Analysis of White Marlin (Tetrapturus albidus) Stock Structure. Bulletin of Marine Science. 79: 469-482.
  • Portnoy, D.S., J.R. McDowell, K. Thompson, J. A. Musick, J.E. Graves (2006). Isolation and characterization of six dinucleotide microsatellite loci in the sandbar shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus. Molecular Ecology Notes. 6: 431-433.
  • Carlsson, J.C., J.R. McDowell, J.E.L. Carlsson, D. Olafsdottir, J.E. Graves (2006). Genetic heterogeneity of Atlantic bluefin tuna caught in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean south of Iceland. ICES Journal of Marine Science. 63: 1111-1117.
  • Luthy, S.A., R. K. Cowen, J.E. Serafy, J.R. McDowell (2005). Towards distinguishing larval sailfish, white marlin, and blue marlin in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Fishery Bulletin, 103: 588-600.
  • Carlsson, J., J.R. McDowell, P. Diaz-Jaimes, ,J.E.L. Carlsson, S.B. Boles, J.R. Gold, J.E. Graves (2004). Microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA analyses of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus thynnus) population structure in the Mediterranean Sea. Molecular Ecology, Molecular Ecology. 13: 3345-3356.
  • Graves, J.E., and J.R. McDowell (2003). Population structure of the world's billfishes: a genetic perspective. Marine and Freshwater Research. 54: 1-11.
  • McDowell, J.R., P. Diaz-Jaimes, and J.E. Graves (2002). Isolation and characterization of seven tetra-nucleotide microsatellite loci from Atlantic northern bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus thynnus. Molecular Ecology Notes. 2: 214-216.
  • McDowell, J.R., J.E. Graves (2002). Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers for the specific identification of istiophorid and xiphiid billfishes. Fishery Bulletin. 100: 537-544.
  • Buonaccorsi, V.P., J.R. McDowell, J.E. Graves (2001). Reconciling patterns of inter-ocean molecular variance from four classes of molecular markers in blue marlin (Makaira nigricans). Molecular Ecology. 10: 1179-1196.
  • Graves, J.E., J.R. McDowell (1995). Inter-Ocean genetic divergence of istiophorid billfishes. Marine Biology 122: 193-204.
  • Graves, J.E., J.R. McDowell (1994). Genetic analysis of striped marlin Tetrapturus audax population structure in the Pacific Ocean. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 51: 1762-1768.
  • Graves, J.E., A.M. Beardsley, J.R. McDowell, D.R. Scoles (1992). Stock structure of the bluefish Pomatomus saltatrix along the mid-Atlantic coast. Fishery Bulletin. 90: 703-710.
  • Graves, J.E., J.R. McDowell, M.L. Jones (1992). A genetic analysis of weakfish Cynoscion regalis stock structure along the mid-Atlantic coast. Fishery Bulletin. 90: 469-475.