Alexandra DeCandia

Alexandra DeCandia
Georgetown University | GU · Department of Biology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

14
Publications
2,690
Reads
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165
Citations
Introduction
In my research, I apply tools and concepts from molecular ecology, disease ecology, and conservation biology to inform wildlife management in captivity (e.g., black-footed ferrets) and the wild (e.g., Channel Island foxes and Yellowstone National Park wolves). For more information on my research, teaching, and science communication, please visit my website: www.alexandradecandia.com
Additional affiliations
September 2020 - present
Smithsonian Institution
Position
  • PostDoc Position
September 2015 - August 2020
Princeton University
Position
  • PhD Student
Description
  • I completed my doctoral dissertation in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology on the genetic effects of urban colonization, microbiome changes associated with mite-induced disease, and genetic underpinnings of mange severity. Study systems included Yellowstone National Park wolves (Canis lupus), Santa Catalina Island foxes (Urocyon littoralis catalinae), European red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), and North American coyotes (C. latrans), gray foxes (U. cinereoargenteus), and red foxes.
Education
July 2017 - August 2020
Princeton University
Field of study
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
September 2015 - June 2017
Princeton University
Field of study
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
September 2011 - May 2015
Columbia University
Field of study
  • Environmental Biology

Publications

Publications (14)
Article
Full-text available
Urbanization is driving environmental change on a global scale, creating novel environments for wildlife to colonize. Through a combination of stochastic and selective processes, urbanization is also driving evolutionary change. For instance, difficulty in traversing human‐modified landscapes may isolate newly established populations from rural sou...
Article
The host‐associated microbiome is increasingly recognized as a critical player in health and immunity. Recent studies have shown that disruption of commensal microbial communities can contribute to disease pathogenesis and severity. Santa Catalina Island foxes (Urocyon littoralis catalinae) present a compelling system in which to examine microbial...
Article
Full-text available
Population genetic theory posits that molecular variation buffers against disease risk. Although this “monoculture effect” is well supported in agricultural settings, its applicability to wildlife populations remains in question. In the present study, we examined the genomics underlying individual‐level disease severity and population‐level consequ...
Article
Full-text available
The host-associated microbiome is an important player in the ecology and evolution of species. Despite growing interest in the medical, veterinary, and conservation communities, there remain numerous questions about the primary factors underlying microbiota, particularly in wildlife. We bridged this knowledge gap by leveraging microbial, genetic, a...
Preprint
Cooperatively breeding species exhibit numerous strategies to avoid mating with close relatives, inherently reducing effective population size. For species of management concern, accurate estimates of inbreeding and trait depression are crucial for the species's future. We utilized genomic and pedigree data for Yellowstone National Park gray wolves...
Article
Aggression is a quantitative trait deeply entwined with individual fitness. Mapping the genomic architecture underlying such traits is complicated by complex inheritance patterns, social structure, pedigree information, and gene pleiotropy. Here, we leveraged the pedigree of a reintroduced population of gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Sarcoptic mange is a highly contagious skin disease caused by the ectoparasitic mite Sarcoptes scabiei. Although it afflicts over 100 mammal species worldwide, sarcoptic mange remains a disease obscured by variability at the individual, population and species levels. Amid this variability, it is critical to identify consistent drivers...
Preprint
Sarcoptic mange is a highly contagious skin disease caused by the ectoparasitic mite, Sarcoptes scabiei. Although it afflicts over 100 mammal species worldwide, sarcoptic mange remains a disease obscured by variability at the individual, population, and species levels. Amid this variability, it is critical to identify consistent drivers of morbidit...
Preprint
The host-associated microbiome is increasingly recognized as a critical player in health and immunity. When commensal microbial communities are disrupted, dysbiosis can contribute to disease pathogenesis and severity. Santa Catalina Island foxes (Urocyon littoralis catalinae) present an ideal case study for examining dysbiosis in wildlife due to th...
Article
Full-text available
Theory predicts that range expansion results in genetic diversity loss in colonizing populations. Rapid reduction of population size exacerbates negative effects of genetic drift, while sustained isolation decreases neutral variation. Amid this demographic change, natural selection can act to maintain functional diversity. Thus, characterizing neut...
Article
Full-text available
Range expansion is a widespread biological process, with well‐described theoretical expectations associated with the colonization of novel ranges. However, comparatively few empirical studies address the genomic outcomes accompanying the genome‐wide consequences associated with the range expansion process, particularly in recent or ongoing expansio...
Article
Full-text available
The threatened eastern wolf is found predominantly in protected areas of central Ontario and has an evolutionary history obscured by interbreeding with coyotes and gray wolves, which challenges its conservation status and subsequent management. Here, we used a population genomics approach to uncover spatial patterns of variation in 281 canids in ce...
Article
Noninvasive sampling can provide an efficient means of genetically monitoring mammals. Due to the fragmented quality of DNA derived from such samples, few methods span taxonomic groups beyond species. Here, we describe a more universal protocol for the molecular sex identification of order Carnivora. PCR amplification of a 176 bp segment of the SRY...

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Cited By

Projects

Projects (6)
Archived project
We used culture-independent next-generation sequencing to characterize the skin microbiome of sarcoptic mange-infected and uninfected canids in three host species: coyotes (Canis latrans), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), and gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus). Although these hosts derive from three genera, we found remarkably consistent patterns of microbial dysbiosis in mange-infected individuals. We observed decreased microbial diversity, altered community composition, and increased abundance of opportunistic pathogens previously associated with canid skin and ear infections (Staphylococcus pseudintermedius) and the bodies of parasitic arthropods (Corynebacterium spp).
Archived project
We used next-generation sequencing to characterize the skin microbiome of Santa Catalina Island foxes, an endemic island population that lacks genetic variation. In addition, we compared the microbial communities inhabiting ear mite-infected and uninfected ear canals, to explore whether microbial dysbiosis contributes to the hypothesized "ear mite - inflammation - abnormal cell growth - tumor development" pathway observed in these foxes.