Front Entrance of UofSC Aiken



Kristina M. Ramstad, PhD


I am originally from Washington State and studied sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in Alaska for both my MSc (University of Washington) and PhD (University of Montana) research. My postdoc work took me to New Zealand, where I spent eight years studying conservation genetics of kiwi before returning to the States and joining the faculty at USC Aiken. I am currently obsessed with the wading birds and steamy, mysterious swamps of the US Southeast.

Courses Taught

BIOL 122 – Biological Sciences II
BIOL 316 – Vertebrate Zoology
BIOL 350 – Fundamental Genetics
BIOL 525 – Conservation Biology
BIOL 598 – Special Topics in Biology – Swamp Ecology


B.A., Biological Sciences, Wellesley College, 1993.

M.Sc., Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, 1998.

Ph.D., Organismal Biology and Ecology, University of Montana, 2006.

Research Interests

Dr Ramstad's work draws on genomic sequencing and field based ecological studies to address fundamental questions in the evolution, ecology and demography of at-risk species. She is particularly interested in the impacts of genetic bottleneck effects and inbreeding on population persistence, the effects of mating system on genetic variation, and applied conservation management, and has worked with a broad array of taxa, including salmon, tuatara, and kiwi.


Ramstad, KM, HA Robertson, R Abbott.  In preparation. Female biased dispersal promotes fine-scale genetic structure in the flightless rowi (Apteryx rowi).

Taylor, HR, RM Colbourne, HA Robertson, NJ Nelson, FW Allendorf, and KM Ramstad. 2017. Cryptic inbreeding depression in a recovering long-lived species. Molecular Ecology. DOI:10.1111/mec.13977. (Cover)

Ramstad, KM, HC Miller, and G Kolle. 2016. Sixteen kiwi (Apteryx spp) transcriptomes provide a wealth of genetic markers and insight into sex chromosome evolution in birds. BMC Genomics 17:410. DOI: 10.1186/s12864-016-2714-2.

Taylor, HR, M Kardos, KM Ramstad and FW Allendorf. 2015. Valid estimates of individual inbreeding coefficients from marker-based pedigrees are not feasible in wild populations with low allelic diversity. Conservation Genetics DOI:10.1007/s10592-015-0709-1.

Taylor, HR, NJ Nelson, and KM Ramstad. 2014. Chick Timer™ software proves an accurate, disturbance-minimizing tool for monitoring hatching success in little spotted kiwi (Apteryx owenii). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 41:139-146.

Ramstad, KM, RM Colbourne, HA Robertson, FW Allendorf, and CH Daugherty. 2013. Genetic consequences of a century of protection: serial founder events and survival of the little spotted kiwi (Apteryx owenii). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280:20130576.

Shepherd, LD, TH Worthy, AJD Tennyson, RP Scofield, KM Ramstad, and DM Lambert.  2012. Ancient DNA analyses reveal contrasting phylogeographic patterns amongst kiwi (Apteryx spp.) and a recently extinct lineage of spotted kiwi. PLoS ONE 7:e42384.

Ramstad, KM, JA Moore, and JM Refsnider. 2012. Intrasexual aggression in tuatara: males and females respond differently to same-sex intruders. Herpetological Review 43:19-21.

HC Miller, G Bowker-Wright, M Kharkang, and K Ramstad.  2011. Characterization of class II B MHC genes from a ratite bird, the little spotted kiwi (Apteryx owenii). Immunogenetics 63:223–233.

Ramstad, KM, CA Woody, and FW Allendorf. 2010. Recent local adaptation of sockeye salmon to glacial spawning habitats. Evolutionary Ecology 24:391-411.

Ramstad, KM, M Pfunder, HA Robertson, RM Colbourne, FW Allendorf, and CH Daugherty2010.Fourteen microsatellite loci cross-amplify in all five kiwi species (Apteryx spp.) and reveal extremely low genetic variation in little spotted kiwi (A. owenii). Conservation Genetics Resources 2:333-336.

Ramstad, KM, CA Woody, C Habicht, GK Sage, JE Seeb, and FW Allendorf. 2007. Concordance of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers in detecting a founder event in Lake Clark sockeye salmon. Pages 31-50 in CA Woody (ed.), Sockeye salmon evolution, ecology, and management. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 54, Bethesda, Maryland.

Ramstad, KM, NJ Nelson, G Paine,D Beech, A Paul, P Paul, FW Allendorf, and CH Daugherty. 2007. Species and cultural conservation in New Zealand:  Maori traditional ecological knowledge of tuatara. Conservation Biology 21:455–464.

Ramstad, KM, CA Woody, GK Sage, and FW Allendorf. 2004. Founding events influence genetic population structure of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in Lake Clark, Alaska. Molecular Ecology 13:277-290.

Ramstad, KM, CJ Foote, JB Olsen, and D Rogers. 2003. Genetic and phenotypic evidence of reproductive isolation between seasonal runs of sockeye salmon in Bear Lake, Alaska. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 132:997-1013.