US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
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Horsetail Falls, CA

Kathie Jermstad

2480 Carson Road
United States

Phone: 530-295-3025
Fax: 530-622-2633
Contact Kathie Jermstad

Current Research

I joined the Wildlife Team in 2011 looking to combine my experience in genetics with my undergraduate education in animal conservation. Since then I have been working on various projects:

Research with Angela White (PSW-Davis) using mitochondrial DNA markers for species identification and investigating population structure in Tamias species in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA.

The loss of the predator-evasion response in a founder population of speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculu) in Northern California is being investigated by Bret Harvey (PSW-Arcata). I developed PCR primers for amplification of the chloride channel 1 (CLCN1) gene which is responsible for acute myotonia in vertebrates (fainting goat syndrome). DNA sequencing of CLCN1 from fish that have a myotonic response when under predation pressure is pending.

Long-term studies with Kathryn Purcell (PSW-Fresno) focus on avian abundance and reproductive success in multiple habitats of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Historical temperature records (1995 through 2002) are being examined to identify climate variables and trends that influence fecundity and nest success. Also, documentation of annual bird banding is ongoing.

I am also involved in conservation of the California fisher (Martes pennanti) through participation in annual workshops held by the Southern Sierra Nevada Fisher and the California Fisher working groups. There are two major clades of fisher populations in California; one is restricted to the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains south of the Stanislaus River, and the other one is found in the mountains of northwestern California extending into Oregon.

Research Interests

I am keenly interested in ethology, behavioral genetics and adaptation. This includes vertebrate mating patterns and hybridization in response to shifting niche occupation and population distribution as a result of climate regime disturbances.

Past Research

My research at PSW has been in conifer genomics and genetics focused mainly on mapping genes controlling adaptive traits in Douglas-fir ( ) and genetic mapping in sugar pine, with the goal of determining the DNA sequence of Cr1, the major gene of resistance to the fungal pathogen (Cronartium ribicola) that causes white pine blister rust in Pinus subgenus Strobus (

Laboratory experience at UC Davis:

* Equine Cytogenetics (Lee Million/Anne Bowles, Veterinary Genetics Lab, 1996)

* Protein analyses in walnut (Abaya Dandekar, Crop Sciences, 1996)

Internships with California Dept of Fish and Game:

* Study of diet (scat dissection) in black bear in the Sierra Nevadas (Bill Grenfell, wildlife conservation, 1980)

* Study of using artificial raptor perches (pellet dissection) on levies as natural pest control of California ground squirrel (Ed Littrell, pest control, 1981)

* Necropsy on tule elk, fallow deer and boar (Dave Jessup, pathologist, 1980-1981)

* Assisted in caring for rehab animals (1979-1980)


  • University of California, Genetics , 1997
  • California State University, Animal Conservation , 1981

Professional Organizations

  • The Wildlife Society, Member (2013 - Current)

Awards & Recognition

  • Martin Luther King Drum Major for Service Award, 2012
    For community service. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack
  • The President’s Volunteer Service Award , 2011
    "For volunteer service at local community hosptial." President Barak Obama
  • Certificate of Merit, 2004
    “The 2003 Distinguished Publication Award for: Jermstad KD, Bassoni DL, Jech KS, Ritchie GA, Wheeler NC, Neale DB (2003) Mapping of quantitative trait loci controlling adaptive traits in coastal Douglas-fir. III. Quantitative trait loci-by environment
  • Certificate of Merit, 1991
    "Dedication and scientific accomplishments towards achieving the goals of the biotechnology research program within the Genetics Unit.” Director Barbara Weber

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Last updated on : 05/08/2015