School of Humanities and Sciences

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  • Dr. Victoria Watson-Zink

    Dr. Victoria Watson-Zink

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Biology

    BioI am an evolutionary marine invertebrate biologist, and I use bioinformatics and high-throughput sequencing technologies (genomics and transcriptomics) to explore life-history evolution in terrestrial crabs.

    I completed my B.S. in Biological Sciences (concentration in Ecology and Evolution) at Cornell University in 2013 with academic and research honors. While there, I studied climate science, marine biology, and coral reef biodiversity via several internships/fellowships at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center in Bali, Indonesia, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

    After graduating, I worked for two years as a lab manager and research technician at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA, which is where I discovered my passion for understanding life-history evolution in terrestrial crabs. I began my PhD in Population Biology at UC Davis in 2015, and as a Fellow of both the NSF GRFP and the NSF EAPSI programs, I have traveled extensively across Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean to observe and collect genetic samples from several land crab species.

    As a disabled Black woman in evolution and ecology, I am also passionate about increasing, supporting, and retaining diversity of all kinds in STEM, and during my PhD, I served as the first Graduate Student Advisor to the Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis. I graduated as the first Black PhD from my degree program, and was also awarded the Merton Love Award for Best Dissertation in Ecology and Evolution for my dissertation work.

    I am now a postdoc at Stanford University as a joint Stanford Science Fellow/NSF PRFB Fellow and hope to one day launch my own research lab studying major evolutionary transitions.