Adrienne I. Kovach, Ph.D.

Adrienne I. Kovach, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


My primary research interest is in the application of genetic approaches to the ecology, conservation, and management of wildlife populations. My students and I address questions about population structure, dispersal, source-sink dynamics, hybridization, landscape genetics and conservation genetics in variety of vertebrates, including black bears, New England cottontails, Saltmarsh Sparrows, vernal pool-breeding amphibians, and marine and anadromous fish. When possible, I employ an interdisciplinary approach and many of my projects have both field and laboratory components. I frequently have opportunities for undergraduates to help in the field or lab. Prospective graduate students with a keen interest in combining genetic and ecological approaches and strong quantitative skills are encouraged to contact me.

Current & Recent Research Projects:

  • Landscape genetics of vernal pool-breeding amphibians in an industrial managed forest
  • Effects of habitat fragmentation on dispersal and fine-scale genetic structure of wood frogs and spotted salamanders in a suburban landscape
  • Conservation genetics of endangered New England cottontails
  • Genetic structure and nesting success of Saltmarsh Sparrows
  • Dynamics of the Nelson’s-Saltmarsh Sparrow hybrid zone
  • Genetic stock identification of Atlantic cod and rainbow smelt


  • 1998 Ph.D. Zoology, North Carolina State University
  • 1990 B.S. Organismal Biology, University of Kansas

Teaching Responsibilities

  • BIOL 420: Introduction to Forensic Sciences
  • NR 655: Vertebrate Biology

Selected Publications

Coster, S.S. and A.I. Kovach. 2012. Anthropogenic influences on the spatial genetic structure of black bears. Conservation Genetics. DOI 10.1007/s10592-012-0368-4

Kovach, A.I., T.S. Breton, C. Enterline, and D.L. Berlinsky. In press. Identifying the spatial scale of population structure in anadromous rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax). Fisheries Research.

Knapp, A., T. Smith, A.I. Kovach, and D.L. Berlinsky. 2012. No Differences in Egg Buoyancy and Anti-freeze Protein Production in Genetically Divergent Subpopulations of Gulf of Maine Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua). Fisheries Research. doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2012.05.005

Walsh, J., A.I. Kovach, K.J. Babbitt, and K.M. O’Brien. 2012. Fine-scale population structure and asymmetrical dispersal in a salt marsh passerine, the Saltmarsh Sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus). The Auk 129: 247-258. DOI: 10.1525/auk.2012.11153

Coster, S.S., A.I. Kovach, P.J. Pekins, A.B. Cooper, and A. Timmins. 2011. Genetic Mark-Recapture Population Estimation in Black Bears and Issues of Scale. Journal of Wildlife Management. 75(5): 1128-1136. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.143

Walsh, J., A.I. Kovach, O.P. Lane, K.M O’Brien and K.J. Babbitt. 2011. Genetic barcode RFLP analysis of the Nelson’s and Saltmarsh Sparrow hybrid zone. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123(2):316–322.  

Fenderson, L.E., A.I. Kovach, J. Litvaitis and M. Litvaitis. 2011. Population genetic structure and history of fragmented remnant populations of the New England cottontail. Conservation Genetics 12:943-958. DOI 10.1007/s10592-011-0197

Kovach, A.I., T.S. Breton, D.L. Berlinsky, L. Maceda, and I.Wirgin. 2010.  Fine-scale spatial and temporal genetic structure of cod off the Atlantic coast of the USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 410: 177-195.

Runge, J.A., A.I. Kovach, J.H. Churchill, L.A. Kerr, and 17 others. 2010. “Understanding climate impacts on recruitment and spatial dynamics of Atlantic cod in the Gulf of Maine: Integration of observations and modeling.” Progress in Oceanography. 87: 251-263.

Wirgin, I., A. I. Kovach, L. Maceda, R. Nirmal, J. Waldman, and D.L. Berlinsky 2007. Stock identification of Atlantic cod in U.S. waters using microsatellite and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) DNA analyses. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 136: 375-391.

Litvaitis, J.A., J.P. Tash, M.K. Litvaitis, M.N. Marchand, A.I. Kovach, and R. Innes. 2006.  A range-wide survey to determine the current distribution of New England cottontails. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(4): 1190-1197.

Kovach, A.I., M.K. Litvaitis, and J.A. Litvaitis. 2003. Evaluation of fecal mtDNA analysis as a method to determine the geographic range of a rare lagomorph. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 31(4): 1061-1065.

Kovach, A.I. and R.A. Powell. 2003.  Influence of body size on male mating tactics and paternity in black bears, Ursus americanus. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 81:1257-1268.

Adrienne Kovach
Rudman Hall, Room G87
Durham, NH 03824