Paige Byerly is a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Conservation Genomics. Her research focuses on avian evolution, population dynamics, and conservation. Her primary areas of expertise include museum genomics, population genomics, and Caribbean seabird ecology. Her current research at SCBI is a joint project with Dr. Philip Lavretsky’s lab at the University of Texas El Paso, investigating the genomic consequences of domestic and wild mallard interbreeding on wild mallards. She is also partnering with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue her work on roseate terns, which will include genomic population assignment of roseate tern carcasses collected at non-breeding sites.

As part of her dissertation research, Byerly investigated population genomics of breeding roseate tern populations in the Atlantic Basin and found strong evidence for population structuring among regions at both historical and contemporary time periods. Her continued work with this species will directly contribute to conservation efforts, in addition to informing our understanding of dispersal in highly mobile marine organisms.

Byerly completed her Ph.D. at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2021 as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She was advised there by Paul Leberg, Ph.D., for her dissertation research on roseate tern population genomics and ecology, in addition to a multi-year project investigating marshbird response to restoration on Gulf of Mexico barrier islands. As part of her doctoral research, Byerly worked with Robert Fleischer, Ph.D., at SCBI and Terry Chesser, Ph.D., at the Natural Museum of Natural History as an NSF Graduate Research Intern and a short-term research fellow. She also spent multiple field seasons in the Virgin Islands working directly with local managers and NGOs on Caribbean seabird conservation, in addition to conducting collecting trips in Massachusetts and the Florida Keys.