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Oomen Lab

Cod feeding

Photo by: Espen Bierud

The Oomen Lab conducts a transatlantic research program on marine eco-evolutionary dynamics spanning Canada, Sweden and Norway.

The field of eco-evolutionary dynamics arose with mounting evidence that evolution occurs on contemporary timescales. Therefore, failure to account for evolution in predicting population and species responses to anthropogenic change can impede reliable forecasts of marine biodiversity and resource dynamics.

Genomic data are increasingly available for non-model species through initiatives such as the Earth BioGenome Project. These data provides powerful tools for producing eco-evolutionary ‘genomic’ forecasts of population dynamics. Genomic forecasting is poised to improve our understanding of species responses to climate change, harvesting and other anthropogenic stressors.

The Oomen Lab uses interdisciplinary experimental, genomic, and modelling studies of natural populations to understand how responses to environmental change are structured across heterogeneous seascapes and within the genome itself. We believe that the answers to these questions are critical for predicting the persistence of species in the face of environmental change and for managing populations effectively to mitigate biodiversity loss.

Our research is ultimately aimed at integrating ecological and genomic data into eco-evolutionary models for forecasting population responses to environmental change, which will inform evidence-based decision making while providing insights into the predictability of ecology and evolution. To achieve this, we study diverse aspects of adaptation and speciation in marine fishes such as Atlantic cod and Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Beyond science alone, the Oomen Lab co-leads the scientific and artistic project TORSKETROMMING (‘COD DRUMMING’), which investigates the role of drumming vocalizations in the Atlantic cod mating ritual and human-cod connection by combining natural scientific, artistic and social scientific practices. Our performances, sound installations, musical lectures, and workshops have been held at Ultima Contemporary Music Festival, Only Connect Festival, Barents Spektakel, and Kunsthalle Exnergasse, among others.

Learn more


Dr. Rebekah Oomen
Assistant Professor, Marine Evolutionary Ecologist

Department of Biological Sciences
University of New Brunswick
P.O. Box 5050, Saint John, NB
Canada, E2L 4L5