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Rebekah Alice Oomen


Researcher UiA/UiO

I (she/her) am a marine evolutionary ecologist interested in how organisms respond to environmental change, including how  adaptation  to local environments in the past influences contemporary plastic responses and current/future environmental adaptation. My research uses interdisciplinary experimental and genomic studies of natural populations to understand the ecological and genetic mechanisms of adaptation to local environments across different spatial and temporal scales. I 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 lower the potential for extinctions and losses of biodiversity. 

I'm currently based at the Centre for Coastal Research and Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research at the University of Agder and at the  Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis at the University of Oslo. I completed my MSc and PhD with Dr. Jeff Hutchings at Dalhousie University on the genomic basis and spatial scale of variation in temperature responses of Atlantic cod populations. From 2019-2022, I was a James S. McDonnell Foundation Fellow in Understanding Dynamic and Multi-scale Systems at the University of Oslo. My research program is currently interested in integrating genomic data into eco-evolutionary models for predicting population responses to environmental change (i.e. "genomic forecasting"), as well as the role of behaviour and mating systems in environmental responses and adaptation. My research addresses these topics using tools from complex systems science, such as adaptive modeling, machine learning, and network analyses. 

My highly interdisciplinary approach bridges the social science and artistic realms as well. I co-lead the 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. 

High quality reference genomes are invaluable to genomic forecasting of biodiversity. I am a founding member and Council Representative for Norway in the European Reference Genome Atlas (ERGA) and adviser for the Earth Biogenome Project Norway (EBP-Nor), consortia which aim to sequence the genomes of all eukaryotic species in Europe/Norway as part of the Earth Biogenome Project that aims to sequence all such species on Earth in a distributed, inclusive, and just manner. Within ERGA, I co-chair the Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues (ELSI) Committee. I'm also an open science advocate and an Editorial Board Member in genomics/transcriptomics for Scientific Data.

Research interests

adaptation | plasticity | behaviour
gene flow | structural variation | mating systems | reproductive barriers
common garden experiments | mating experiments
genomics | transcriptomics | bioacoustics | telemetry
bioinformatics | modelling | networks | AI


The spatial scale, molecular basis, and demographic consequences of variable responses to environmental change (PI; funded by the James S. McDonnell Foundation and American Genetics Association)

TORSKETROMMING (COD DRUMMING) (PI; funded by the Centre for Coastal Research, University of Agder, Norwegian Centre for Technology in Music and Art, and the Arts Council of Norway)

CODSIZE (Partner; funded by the Norwegian Research Council MARINFORSK programme)

Sociality Under Scarcity (Working group member; funded by the Santa Fe Institute and the James S. McDonnell Foundation)

Selected publications

Please see my Google Scholar page for the complete and most up-to-date publications list.

Oomen, RA, E Juliussen, EM Olsen, H Knutsen, S Jentoft, & JA Hutchings. 2021. Cryptic microgeographic variation in responses of larval Atlantic cod to warming. bioRxivhttps://doi.org/10.1101/2021.02.03.429645

Oomen, RA & JA Hutchings. 2022. Genomic reaction norms inform predictions of plastic and adaptive responses to climate change. Journal of Animal Ecology, 91:1073-1087. doi:10.1111/1365-2656.13707

Rasmussen JH, M Moyano, L Fuiman, & RA Oomen. 2022. FishSizer: Software solution for efficiently measuring larval fish size. Ecology & Evolution, 12:e8672. doi:10.1002/ece3.8672

Goodwin M, KT Halvorsen, L Jiao, KM Knausgård, AH Martin, M Moyano, RA Oomen, JH Rasmussen, TK Sørdalen, & SH Thorbjørnsen. 2022. Unlocking the potential of deep learning for marine ecology: overview, applications, and outlook. ICES Journal of Marine Science, fsab255. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsab255

Formenti, G, K Theissinger, C Fernandes, ..., RA Oomen, ..., M Bálint (25 authors + European Reference Genome Atlas [ERGA] Consortium). 2022. The era of reference genomes in conservation genomics. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 37:197-202. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2021.11.008

Deininger, A, AH Martin, JC Pardo, PR Berg, J Bhardwaj, D Catarino, A Fernandez-Chacon, K Martinez-Swatson, K Ono, RA Oomen, M Sodeland, TK Sørdalen, A-E Synnes, SH Thorbjørnsen, & J Thormar. 2021. Coastal research seen through an early career lens – a perspective on barriers to interdisciplinarity in Norway. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8:634999. doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.634999 

Oomen, RA & JA Hutchings. “Evolution of Reaction Norms.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Evolutionary Biology. Ed. D Futuyma. New York: Oxford University Press, October 28, 2020. https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199941728/obo-9780199941728-0130.xml doi:10.1093/OBO/9780199941728-0130

Oomen, RA, A Kuparinen, & JA Hutchings. 2020. Consequences of single-locus and tightly linked genomic architectures for evolutionary responses to environmental change. Journal of Heredity, 111:319-332. doi:10.1093/jhered/esaa020

Mérot, C, RA Oomen, A Tigano, & M Wellenreuther. 2020. A roadmap for understanding the evolutionary significance of structural genomic variation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2020.03.002

Roney, NE, RA Oomen, H Knutsen, EM Olsen, & JA Hutchings. 2018. Fine-scale population differences in Atlantic cod reproductive success: a potential mechanism for ecological speciation in a marine fish. Ecology & Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.4615

Roney, NE, RA Oomen, H Knutsen, EM Olsen, & JA Hutchings. 2017. Temporal variability in offspring quality and individual reproductive output in a broadcast-spawning marine fish. ICES Journal of Marine Science.  doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsx232

Oomen, RA & JA Hutchings. 2017. Transcriptomic responses to environmental change in fishes: insights from RNA-seq. FACETS. doi:10.1139/facets-2017-0015

Oomen, RA & JA Hutchings. 2016. Genetic variation in plasticity of life-history traits between Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) populations exposed to contrasting thermal regimes. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 94:257-264. doi:10.1139/cjz-2015-0186
Kuparinen, A, NE Roney, RA Oomen, JA Hutchings, & EM Olsen. 2015. Small-scale life history variability suggests potential for spatial mismatches in Atlantic cod management units. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73:286-292. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsv181
Oomen, RA & JA Hutchings. 2015. Genetic variability in reaction norms in fishes. Environmental Reviews, 23:353-366. doi:10.1139/er-2014-0077
Oomen, RA & JA Hutchings. 2015. Variation in spawning time promotes genetic variability in population responses to environmental change in a marine fish. Conservation Physiology, 3:1-12. doi:10.1093/conphys/cov027
Oomen, RA, RM Gillett, & CJ Kyle. 2013. Comparison of 454 pyrosequencing methods for characterizing the major histocompatibility complex of nonmodel species and the advantages of ultra deep coverage. Molecular Ecology Resources, 13:103-116. doi:10.1111/1755-0998.12027
Oomen, RA, MW Reudink, JJ Nocera, CM Somers, MC Green, & CJ Kyle. 2011. Mitochondrial evidence for panmixia despite perceived barriers to gene flow in a widely distributed waterbird. Journal of Heredity, 102:584-592. doi:10.1093/jhered/esr055

Last changed: 2.08.2022 17:08