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Dr. Mark Coulson, Research Fellow


Dr. Mark Coulson, Research Fellow Rivers and Lochs Institute
University of the Highlands and Islands, Inverness College, 3 Longman Road, Inverness, IV1 1SA

T: +44 (0)1463 273576


Mark obtained a BSc (Honours) degree from the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, and holds an MSc from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a PhD from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His previous work has involved the evolution and biogeography of the cod family, the historical and contemporary factors influencing population structure in rainbow smelt (sparling) and DNA barcoding of Canada’s skates and rays.

In 2009, Mark moved from Canada to Scotland to take up a position with the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland as a molecular population geneticist. With RAFTS he worked in collaboration with Marine Scotland Science, Freshwater Laboratory and the various Rivers Trusts and Boards on a project entitled “Focusing Atlantic Salmon Management on Populations” (FASMOP). During this time, he was also involved with the EU SALSEA-MERGE project and led the genetics work on the Managing Interactions Aquaculture Project (MIAP).

His main interest is the application of genetic tools to understanding species’ ecology and evolution and in particular how this information can be applied to conservation and management. He has previously taught courses and labs in Introductory Genetics, Evolution, Molecular Ecology and Molecular Ecology Lab Techniques.  

Mark joined the Rivers and Lochs Institute at Inverness College in August 2014 as a research fellow in population genetics. He also holds an affiliate research position within the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at Glasgow University.


Papers in preparation:
Bradbury IR, Coulson MW, Ostergren J, Bekkevold D, Cross T. Genomic approaches to quantifying the presence and impact of domesticated Atlantic salmon in the wild. Fish and Fisheries

Cauwelier E, Coulson MW, Armstrong A, Gilbey J, Knox D, Stradmeyer L, Webster LMI, Verspoor E. Correspondence between historical biogeography and regional genetic structure in Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, in Scotland. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Papers Submitted:
Gilbey J, Coughlan J, Wennevik V, Prodohl P, Cauwelier E, Cherbonnel C, Coulson MW, Cross T, Crozier W, Dillane E, Ellis J, Ensing D, Garcia-Vazquez E, Griffiths AM, Gudjonsson S, Hindar K, Karlsson S, Knox D, Machado-Schiaffino G, Meldrup D, Nielsen EE, Olafsson K, Primmer C, Prusov S, Stradmeyer L, Stevens JR, Vaha J-P, Veselov AJ, Webster LMI, McGinnity P, Verspoor E. A microsatellite baseline for genetic stock identification of European Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.). ICES Journal of Marine Science

Papers Published:
Coulson MW, Denti D, Van Guelpen L, Miri C, Kenchington E, Bentzen P (2011) DNA barcoding of Atlantic Canadian skates and rays. Molecular Ecology Resources, 11, 968-978.

Bradbury IR*, Coulson MW*, Campana SE, Paterson IG, Bentzen P (2011) Contemporary nuclear and mitochondrial genetic clines in a north temperate estuarine fish reflect Pleistocene vicariance. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 433, 207-218 (*joint first co-authors)

Bradbury IR, Coulson MW, Cook AM, Bentzen P (2010) Evidence for divergence and adaptive isolation in post-glacially derived bimodal allopatric and sympatric rainbow smelt populations. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 101, 583-594.

Bradbury IR, Coulson MW, Campana SE, Baggs E, Bentzen P (2009) Postglacial recolonization and the loss of anadromy in rainbow smelt from coastal Newfoundland. Pages 79-96 in AJ Haro, KL Smith, RA Rulifson, CM Moffitt, RJ Klauda, MJ Dadswell, RA Cunjak, JE Cooper, KL Beal, TS Avery (eds.). Challenges for diadromous fishes in a dynamic global environment. American Fisheries Society Symposium, 69, Bethesda, Maryland.

Marshall HD, Coulson MW, Carr SM (2009) Near neutrality, rate heterogeneity, and linkage govern mitochondrial genome evolution in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and other gadine fish. Molecular Biology & Evolution, 25, 579-589.

Coulson MW, Bradbury IR, Bentzen P (2006) Temporal differentiation: continuous versus discontinuous spawning runs in anadromous rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax). Journal of Fish Biology, 69, 209-216.

Bradbury IR, Coulson MW, Campana SE, Bentzen P (2006) Morphological and genetic differentiation in anadromous smelt (Osmerus mordax) along eastern Canada: disentangling the effects of distance and selection on gene flow. Journal of Fish Biology, 69, 95-114.

Coulson MW, Marshall HD, Pepin P, Carr SM (2006) Mitochondrial genomics of Gadine fish: implications for taxonomy and biogeographic origins. Genome, 49, 1115-1130.

Coulson MW, Paterson IG, Green A, Kepkay R, Bentzen P (2006) Characterization of di- and tetranucleotide microsatellite markers in rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax). Molecular Ecology Notes, 6, 942-944.


24 reports between 2011 and 2013 as part of the Marine Scotland Science Reports Series resulting from the FASMOP project. Available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/ Topics/marine/Publications/publicationslatest/Science/MSSR and http://www.rafts.org.uk/ fishery-management-planning/