René Clark

PhD Candidate in Ecology & Evolution

Rutgers University

About Me

I am currently a PhD candidate in Ecology & Evolution at Rutgers University, where my research interests include molecular ecology and marine conservation. Most of my current work involves using population genomics tools and techniques to assess how marine populations are changing through both space and time, with emphasis on how we as humans are driving such processes around the globe. I am particularly interested in questions of adaptation and selection, as well as assessing the adaptive potential of tropical fish species.

When not doing my own research, I am also very passionate about getting our younger generations engaged in scientific endeavors. Prior to working at Rutgers I spent several years working in the Philadelphia Public School District supplementing science curriculum with hands-on activities, and running science summer camps for all age groups. I also served as the Outreach Coordinator for the Ecology & Evolution GSA at Rutgers, and am currently an Ecology Teacher at an early education enrichment center in NJ.


  • Population Genomics
  • Molecular Ecology
  • Marine Conservation


  • B.S. in Biology, 2014

    Pennsylvania State University

  • M.S. in Biology, 2017

    Saint Joseph's University






Science Outreach



PhD Candidate

Pinsky Lab, Rutgers University

Aug 2017 – Present East Brunswick, NJ
I am currently a PhD Candidate in the Pinsky Lab at Rutgers University, NJ. Most of my work involves applying population genomics tools and analyses to characterize patterns of adaptation and adaptive potential in tropical marine fishes, as well as identify the evolutionary consequences of human actions like over fishing and climate change. I also serve as the secretary and outreach coordinator for our Ecology & Evolution GSA, and lead an Ecology hour for early elementary school children at a local learning center in NJ.

Masters Student & GeoKids Fellow

Fingerut Lab, Saint Joseph's University

Aug 2015 – Jun 2017 Philadelphia, PA
At SJU, I conducted research analysing the reproductive behavor of an invasive fruit fly, and assessed the impact of surface microtopography on the settlement and recruitment patterns of black fly larvae on river bottoms. As a GeoKids Fellow, I worked with the Wagner Free Institute to supplement science curriculum in elementary schools around the Philadelphia area with hands-on activities.

AmeriCorps Member

City Year

Aug 2014 – Jun 2015 Philadelphia, PA
As an AmeriCorps member, I dedicated one year of service to a low-income public middle school. There, I co-taught in a 6th grade classroom (all subjects), prioritizing improving academic performance, decreasing behavioral incidents, and increasing student attendance.

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Baums Lab, Pennsylvania State University

Aug 2012 – Jan 2014 State College, PA
At the Baums Lab I conducted wet lab work and image analysis to assist graduate students in studying the population structure of, and interspecies interactions on, coral reefs in the Galapagos Islands.