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Margaret Hunter

Research Geneticist

Contact Info

Short Biography

Margaret Hunter attended the University of Florida where she received a B.Sc. in Microbiology and Cellular Sciences and minored in Chemistry and Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology.  Following her bachelor degree, she received a PhD in Veterinary Medical Sciences researching Sirenia (manatee and dugong) cytogenetics and conservation genetics. 


  • USGS Sirenia Project
  • USGS Genetics and Genomics Research
  • Courtesy Assistant Professor, University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences 
  • Affiliated faculty member, University of Florida Aquatic Animal Health Program
  • Affiliated faculty member, University of Florida Genetics Institute


Hunter ME, Nico L. Genetic diversity and relatedness of wild and captive non-native Asian black carp, Mylopharyngodon piceus, in the Mississippi River Basin. In prep.

Hart KM, Hunter ME, King TL, Young CC. Regional differentiation among populations of the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin).  In prep.


Hunter ME, Mignucci-Giannoni AA, Tucker KP, King T, Bonde RK, Gray BA, McGuire PM (2012) Puerto Rico and Florida manatees represent genetically distinct groups. Conservation Genetics, DOI 10.1007/s10592-012-0414-2.


Bonde RK, McGuire PM, Hunter ME (2012) A review of the key genetic tools to assist imperiled species conservation: analyzing West Indian manatee populations.  Journal of Marine Animals and their Ecology, 5: 8-19.


Hunter ME,* Tucker  KP,* Bonde RK, Austin JD, Clark AG, Beck CA, McGuire PM, Oli MK (2012) Low genetic diversity and minimal population substructure in the endangered Florida manatee: implications for conservation.  Journal of Mammalogy, 93(6).

*These authors contributed equally to this work


Hunter ME, Pawlitz R (2012) Using genetic research to inform imperiled and invasive species management. USGS Fact Sheet: 2012-3017.


Pawlitz R, Hunter ME, Johnson N (2012) Genetic research for wildlife and fisheries management – A primer. USGS Fact Sheet: 2012-3110.


Luna FO, Bonde RK, Attademo FLN, Saunders JW, Meigs-Friend G, Passavante J ZO, Hunter ME (2012) Phylogeographic implications for release of critically endangered manatee calves rescued in Northeast Brazil. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems,  22: 665-672.


Hunter ME, Auil-Gomez NE, Bonde RK, Powell J, McGuire PM.  (2010) Low genetic variation and evidence of limited dispersal in the in the regionally important Belize manatee.  Animal Conservation, 13:6, 592-602.


Hunter ME, Broderick D, Ovenden JR, Pause KC, Bonde RK, McGuire PM, and Lanyon JM.  (2010) Cross-species comparison of Australian dugong and Florida manatee microsatellite loci and the characterization of highly informative marker-panels.  Molecular Ecology Resources, 10:2, 368-377.


Pause KC, Nourisson C, Clark A, Kellogg ME, Bonde RK, McGuire PM.  (2007)  Polymorphic microsatellite DNA markers for the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris).  Molecular Ecology Notes, 7:6, 1073-1076.


Kellogg ME, Burkett S, Dennis TR, Stone G, Gray BA, McGuire PM, Zori RT, Stanyon R.  (2007)  Chromosome painting in the manatee supports Afrotheria and Paenungulata.  BMC Evolutionary Biology, 7:6.



My Science Topics

Science Topic
Ecology and Environmentaquatic ecosystems
Ecology and Environmentbiodiversity
Plants and Animalswildlife population management
Techniques and Methodsfield methods
Techniques and Methodslaboratory methods
Techniques and Methodsstatistical analysis
Plants and Animalsanimals
Plants and Animalsendangered species
Plants and Animalsextinction and extirpation
Plants and Animalsgenetic diversity
Plants and Animalsinvasive species
Plants and Animalsspecies diversity
Plants and Animalswildlife

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

Climate Variability & Change

Research Focus

Image of Current Focus for Research Focus

Margaret Hunter's research focuses on conservation genetics and genomics of threatened species.  She also uses population genetics to investigate invasive species.  She has a special interest in landscape genetics, transcriptomics (the relationship of gene sequences to biological function), and utilizing the technique of next-generation sequencing to answer research questions.  For summaries of her research projects, please visit:

Photo Credit: Invasive lionfish in Puerto Rico. Antonio Mignucci, Puerto Rico Manatee Conservation Center

Sirenia Project

Image of Sirenia Project

For more information please visit:

Photo: Manatees are netted and brought into a boat for health assessments and tracking studies in Brazil. Michael Lusk, USFWS

Contact Information

Margaret Hunter
7920 NW 71st Street
Gainesville, FL 32653
352-378-4956 - Fax
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