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Nina Overgaard Therkildsen

RELP Cohort: 2014
School: Humanities and Sciences

Nina Overgaard Therkildsen is a postdoctoral research scholar in Prof. Steve Palumbis lab at Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University. She is keenly interested in developing ways to leverage genetic analysis to improve fisheries management. Using both contemporary and historical DNA samples, her research aims to characterize population structure in exploited species and shed light on how different populations respond to fishing pressure and other human-induced impacts. She believes that an improved understanding of these issues will equip us to better target management actions at the relevant biological units and to plan our fishing practices so that we minimize long-term impacts on the genetic composition of fish populations and maximize yields without jeopardizing the future sustainability.

Currently, Nina is studying how size-selective fishing can gradually make fish get smaller and smaller a highly undesirable outcome because it will reduce the overall biomass available for harvest. She has also been working with the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources to clarify how many separate populations of Atlantic cod (the historically most important commercial species) inhabit their waters, and she is now refining a cost-effective genetic assay that can distinguish the separate local populations. This tool will allow for both retrospective and real-time monitoring of how the different populations are distributed in space, so that fishing pressure can be allocated accordingly.

Nina holds a PhD in fish population genetics from the Technical University of Denmark, an MSc in biology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and a BA in human ecology from College of the Atlantic, ME. Originally from Denmark, she has during her studies spent extended periods in multiple different countries, and she enjoys exploring new places, hiking, diving, windsurfing and cooking.