Late last year, Alana was awarded a two-year Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Royal Society Te Apārangi of New Zealand in order to investigate for the first time if certain patterns of genetic diversity across the holobiome, also known as the hologenome, can be used in conservation biology.

Hologenomics takes a holistic approach to genome sequencing where the DNA of the host animal as well as its co-existing microbes are sequenced.

The test case Alana proposes to use are the Māui and Hector's dolphins, where the use of hologenomics could help determine the uncertainty and degree of crossbreeding between these two subspecies, as well as population fluctuation, inbreeding, disease susceptibility and the ongoing impact of human activities such as fishing.

Congratulations to Alana for this important scientific recognition of her research!