The second public meeting and workshop of the committee on Assessing the Taxonomic Status of the Red Wolf and the Mexican Gray Wolf was held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Pacific Time at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies in Irvine, CA.

Watch the meeting recordings below:



November 6, 2018: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Pacific Time
Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies
100 Academy Way, Irvine, CA 92617 | Huntington Room

8:00 am Welcome & Opening Remarks
8:10 am Approaches and Challenges with Determining Taxonomy: Salmon Case Study
– Robin S. Waples, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries – View Bio

I took a circuitous route to fisheries biology, getting a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University before eventually doing my Ph.D. in Marine Biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Intervening years were mostly spent on or under the ocean in tropical places. Early research involved taxonomy and population genetics of marine shorefishes, but salmon became the major focus after I moved to Seattle. For over a decade, I headed a group charged with developing the scientific basis for listing determinations and recovery planning for Pacific salmon under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. I also directed our Center’s Internal Grants Program for 10 years, during which over $2 million in seed-money grants was provided for innovative research projects, especially by junior scientists. A major theme of my research is applying evolutionary and ecological principles to real-world problems in conservation and management. Often this involves adapting standard population genetics models to better comport with life histories of actual species. Particular interests include: identifying conservation units; population genetics of high-gene-flow species; estimating effective population size; genetic interactions of captive and wild populations; genetic mixture/admixture analysis; evolutionary responses of natural populations to human-altered environments; interaction of population demography and evolutionary processes in species with overlapping generations.

8:40 am Wolf Natural History and Population Dynamics
– Douglas W. Smith, National Park Service (remote) – View Bio

Douglas W. Smith PhD is a Senior Wildlife Biologist in Yellowstone National Park. He supervises the wolf, bird and elk programs – formerly three jobs now combined into one under Doug’s supervision. His original job was the Project Leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project which involved the reintroduction and restoration of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. He helped establish this project and position. Doug received a B.S. degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Idaho in 1985. While working toward this degree he became involved with studies of wolves and moose on Isle Royale with Rolf Peterson, which led to long-term involvement (1979-1994) with this study as well as a M.S. degree in Biology under Peterson at Michigan Technological University in 1988. His M.S. research focused on beavers in northern Minnesota and resulted in an 11 year study of beavers in Voyageurs National Park which eventually led to a PhD from the University of Nevada, Reno in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology in 1997 under Stephen H. Jenkins. He has also conducted beaver research in Wisconsin and Michigan as well as studying wolves in Minnesota with the world’s leading wolf expert L.D. Mech (1983). He has published a wide variety of journal articles and book chapters on beavers, wolves, and birds and co-authored three popular books on wolves (The Wolves of Yellowstone & Decade of the Wolf which won the 2005 Montana book award for best book published in Montana) as well as publishing numerous popular articles. The third book, Wolves on the Hunt, came out in May 2015. He has participated in a number of documentaries about wolves for National Geographic and British Broadcasting Company (BBC) as well as other media. He is currently working with National Geographic Magazine on the May 2016 issue which will be entirely dedicated to Yellowstone National Park celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. He is interviewed widely and speaks often about wolves to audiences all over the world. His professional interests include wolf population dynamics, wolf-prey relationships, restoration of ecological processes, raptor conservation, and beaver population dynamics. He is a member of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team, the Re-Introduction Specialist Group, and Canid Specialist Group for the IUCN. Besides wolves, birds and beavers, he is an avid canoeist preferring to travel mostly in the remote regions of northern Canada with his wife Christine and their two sons Sawyer and Hawken.

– L. David Mech, U.S. Geological Survey (remote) – View Bio

L. David Mech (“Dave”) is a Senior Research Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Minnesota. Dave holds a B.S. degree from Cornell University, a Ph.D. degree and an honorary doctorate degree from Purdue University. He has published some 450 articles and 11 books. Dave has studied wolves since 1958 in Minnesota, Yellowstone National Park, Denali National Park and each summer from 1986 through 2010, he lived with, and studied, a pack of wolves tolerant to humans on Ellesmere Island, 600 miles from the N. Pole. He chaired the IUCN Wolf Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union from 1978 to 2013 when the group was absorbed into the Canid Specialist Group (CSG). Dave now is advisor on wolves to the chair of the CSG. He also founded and is vice chair of the International Wolf Center ( His awards include the Wildlife Society’s Aldo Leopold Award. Also see Dave conducted the first 3 years of the Isle Royale wolf-moose studies for his Ph.D., the results being published in a 1966 book “The Wolves of Isle Royale,” republished in 2002 and still in print. His 1970 book, “The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species” also remains in print.

9:40 am Break
10:00 am Computational Analysis for Questions About Population Evolution and Genetics
Making inferences about unique and potentially adaptive alleles
– Molly Przeworski, Columbia University (remote) – View Bio

Molly Przeworski’s work aims to understand the evolutionary roots of heritable variation, in humans and non-model organisms. Recent research has focused on understanding how adaptation operates in natural populations and in hybrids, as well as in elucidating the evolution of the processes that generate genetic variation (mutation and recombination). Dr. Przeworski earned her MA in mathematics from Princeton University and her PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining Columbia in 2013, she was a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and on the faculty at Brown and the University of Chicago. She is the recipient of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist award, the Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator award, the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research award, and an Alfred P. Sloan fellowship.

Methods for inferring past population history and demographics
– Graham Coop, University of California, Davis (remote) – View Bio

Graham Coop is an associate professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at UC Davis.  Prior to joining UC Davis, he did his PhD with Bob Griffiths in the mathematical genetics group of the Statistics Department at the University of Oxford, and was a post-doc in Jonathan Pritchard’s group in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, where he also worked closely with Molly Przeworski. His lab at UC Davis works on various topics in population genetics, including the role of geography in adaptation, the impact of natural selection on linked polymorphism, the causes and consequences of variation in recombination rates and the inference of demographic history from population genetic data.

11:00 am Genetic Analysis of the Red Wolf
– Joseph W. Hinton, University of Georgia (remote) – View Bio

Dr. Joseph Hinton is a postdoctoral researcher in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia studying vertebrate ecology, management, and conservation with a focus on canid communities. Currently, he oversees a regional study on coyotes in the southeastern United States. Dr. Hinton’s dissertation research focused on the ecology and interactions of red wolves and coyotes, and ecological conditions facilitating hybridization between the two. Dr. Hinton has employed morphometric analyses, mark-recapture methods, and radio-tracking techniques to investigate morphology, resource use, movements, survival, and population dynamics of wildlife. His research on coyotes and red wolves is representative of his interest in carnivore ecology, conservation, and management.

– Bridgett M. vonHoldt, Princeton University (remote) – View Bio

Dr. Bridgett vonHoldt is an Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. Her research on evolutionary and population dynamics of canids has focused on how both natural and artificial selection has shaped the molecular architecture of the genome as well as provided tools for shaping conservation management decisions. She has contributed significantly to the research and recovery assessment of the Rocky Mountain gray wolf, and continues to encourage an innovative discussion on the role of admixture in genomic ancestry and variation. She received her Ph.D. in 2010 under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Wayne, and has been on faculty since 2013.

12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Genetic Analysis of the Red Wolf (continued)
– Paul A. Hohenlohe, University of Idaho (remote) – View Bio

Dr. Paul A. Hohenlohe is Associate Professor in the Departments of Biological Science and Statistical Science at the University of Idaho. His research focuses on evolutionary genetics and genomics, with applications to conservation, in a wide range of animal taxa. Specific questions include identifying genomic signatures of local adaptation and the genetic basis of disease resistance. He has been involved in developing RAD sequencing as a tool for population genomics in non-model organisms. Before joining UI in 2011, he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Washington and postdoctoral research at Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, and worked as a conservation biologist for the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. He is on the editorial board of Molecular Ecology and Molecular Ecology Resources.

1:30 pm Computational Analysis for Questions About Population Evolution and Genetics
Making inferences about admixture
– Jonathan K. Pritchard, Stanford University (remote) – View Bio

Jonathan Pritchard is a Professor in the Departments of Genetics and Biology at Stanford University and an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Jonathan Pritchard received undergraduate degrees in biology and mathematics at Penn State (1994), and a PhD in biology from Stanford (1998). In 2013, he joined the faculty of Stanford University, where he is now a professor in the Departments of Biology and Genetics. Dr. Pritchard’s work uses computational and statistical approaches to study human genetic variation and evolution. He has done wide-ranging research on human population structure and history and human adaptation, as well as on understanding the mechanisms that link genetic variation to variation in gene regulation and complex traits. One of his key early contributions was the Structure algorithm for using genetic data to infer population structure and personal ancestry. Structure and related methods are now used for wide-ranging applications, including personal ancestry inference, forensics, and conservation biology. Similar statistical techniques have also become widely used for document classification in computer science. More recently, the Pritchard lab has focused on two parallel problems: understanding the links between genetic and phenotypic variation, and understanding the action of natural selection in shaping genetic variation during human evolution. He has worked to identify the molecular mechanisms that link genetic variation to changes in gene regulation, and how these ultimately drive variation in complex traits and diseases. In parallel, he developed techniques for measuring classical selective sweeps as well as recent shifts in allele frequencies. His recent work emphasizes the extreme polygenicity of a wide variety of human traits and the role of polygenic adaptation in human evolution.

2:00 pm Genetic Analysis of the Mexican Gray Wolf
– Matthew A. Cronin, Northwest Biology Company LLC. – View Bio

Matthew A. Cronin is a biologist. He received a Ph.D. in Biology from Yale University in 1989, an M.S. in Biology from Montana State University in 1986, and a B.S. in Forest Biology from State University New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 1976. Dr. Cronin was a U.S. Coast Guard officer from 1981 to 1984, and worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a geneticist from 1989 to 1992. From 1992 to 2004 he worked in the private sector with a focus on wildlife research and impact assessments for the oil, timber, and mining industries. From 2004 to 2016 Dr. Cronin was a Research Professor of Animal Genetics at the University of Alaska, and focused his research on population genetics of wildlife and livestock. His work emphasizes application of science to natural resource management and his experience with private industry, academia, and government provides insights for achieving multiple-use objectives. Dr. Cronin has published papers in the scientific literature, including several on North Slope Alaska caribou, grizzly bears, polar bears, and foxes. After three decades in Alaska, he now resides in Montana and is a scientist with Northwest Biology Company LLC and a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

– Richard Fredrickson, Independent Researcher – View Bio

Dr. Richard J. Fredrickson is a self-employed biologist based in Missoula, MT. He is interested in the intersection of population genetics and population ecology, particularly as it relates to conservation. Much of his work has been with threatened and endangered species including northern spotted owls, Peninsular Ranges bighorn sheep, and red wolves. He has been involved with Mexican wolves since 2002, and he was a participant in the two most recent recovery planning efforts for the wolves. He has worked as a Forest Wildlife Ecologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and in a variety of positions with the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service. He received a B.S. in wildlife biology at North Carolina State University, an M.S. in wildlife ecology at Utah State University, and a PhD in ecology, evolution, and genetics at Arizona State University.

3:00 pm Break
3:15 pm Public Comment Session
4:00 pm Adjourn