Welcome to my website--I am very excited that you are here! My hope for this webpage is that it can give you a snapshot of who I am as a person, scientist, and mentor. Please poke around and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Michelle St. John

Who I am

I am a 5th year PhD candidate in the Integrative Biology department at the University of California Berkeley (graduating summer 2022). I am broadly interested in the origins of evolutionary novelty and study this using behavioral, genetic, and kinematic data (learn more below!).

I currently live with my husband, two cats (Tulip and Alfalfa), and a hairless dog (Tomatillo). I am originally from the midwest and received my bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I started my PhD experience at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, but moved with my lab to Berkeley in my third year. In my free time I like to cook, stream netflix with my pets, and hike around CA with my partner.


My Science

I am interested in understanding how new traits, behaviors, or new combinations of traits and behaviors allow organisms to occupy new ecological niche, and I study this phenomena using the pupfish system. Pupfish (Cyprinodon variegatus) are found across the Atlantic coasts of North and South America where they mostly consume a generalist diet. However, in the Bahamas we find an endemic radiation of pupfish that contains both a snail-eating (C. brontotheroides) and a scale-eating specialist (C. desquamator). Both species exhibit novel morphologies, behaviors, and ecologies--Making them an excellent study system! Check out my specific PhD chapters below to see how I am piecing together how these fantastic fish occupy these rare ecological niches.


Current Projects

Below are summaries of my recent research projects. For my PhD, I have been investigating the origins of novelty using the pupfish system. During my master's work I focused on investigating the process of reinforcement and the formation of reproductive isolation in killifish.


Watch my PhD Exit Seminar!

Say Hello.

If you are interested in contacting me please email me at: stjohn3@berkeley.edu