Ph.D. Candidate
University of Alaska Fairbanks ∙


Ph.D. Candidate • UAF • Marine Biology • Spring 2014 - Present

Major:  Marine Biology | Thesis: Assessing community composition, environmental drivers, and oil degradation by bacteria and archaea in Arctic marine sediments | Advisors: Dr. Sarah Hardy & Dr. Mary Beth Leigh | GPA: 3.76

Bachelor of Science • UCSC • Marine Biology • Sept. 2007 – Dec. 2009

Major: Marine Biology with Honors* | Thesis: Establishing potential habitat refuge of nocturnal fish species Myripristis kuntee in Moorea, French Polynesia | Advisors: Dr. Pete Raimondi and Dr. Giacomo Bernardi | GPA: Overall 3.6 | Upper division: 3.9


Research Assistant • UAF • 2014 – June 2020

Assessing community structure of archaea and bacteria in Arctic marine sediments from the Beaufort and Chukchi seas via 16S rRNA and metagenomic sequencing. 
Investigating crude oil biodegradation by bacteria and archaea in Chukchi shelf sediments via 16S rRNA and metagenomic sequencing.


Teaching Assistant • UAF • Spring 2017 & 2019

Taught multiple 3-hour lab sections, prepared media/cultures, and designed and wrote bioinformatics lab protocols for metagenomic sequencing for two academic semesters of an upper level undergraduate microbiology course.​

Research Specialist • UCSC • June 2012 - 2014

Investigated the mechanisms of transport of Toxoplasma gondii via transparent exopolymer (TEP) in kelpforest ecosystems through sampling and analytical lab techniques. PIs: Dr. Mary Silver, Dr. Karen Shapiro, Dr. Fernanada Mazzillo.

Research Technician • UCSC • Jan. 2010 – June 2012

Conducted field and lab work pertaining to a Ph.D. candidates thesis work assessing how fires affect nearshore intertidal and subtidal habitats in Big Sur, CA. PIs: Dr. Pete Raimondi, Dr. Mark Carr, and Dr. Melissa Foley.



Journal Reviewer • Polar Biology • Arctic, Environmental Monitoring, Metabarcoding, Environmental DNA

Journal Reviewer • Biogeosciences • Mangroves, Prokaryotic communities, 16SrRNA, Marine sediments


Walker AM, Leigh MB, Hardy SM (2019) Patterns in bacterial and archaeal community structure exhibited in Arctic marine surface sediments from the Beaufort Sea Shelf and Slope. Planned submittal to Frontiers in Microbiology.


Walker AM, Gofstein T, Hardy SM, Leigh MB (2019) Microbial biodegradation of Alaska North Slope crude oil in Arctic marine sediments. Planned submittal to Applied and Environmental Microbiology



2019 • Institute of Arctic Biology Fellowship • $7,500

2019 • Oil Spill Recovery Institute • $60,000

2019 • Goering Family Fellowship • $1000

2019 • CMI Best Student Talk • Coastal Marine Institute Review

2018 • Francis “Bud” Fay Memorial Scholarship • $1000

2018 • ASM Best Student Talk • Alaska branch of the American Society for Microbiologists

2017 • Frances And Alfred Baker Memorial Scholarship • $2000

2017 • Co-Authored CMI Grant • $150,000

2017 • INBRE Travel Grant • $2000

2016 • The Dieter Family Marine Science Research Scholarship • $4500

2016 • Coastal Marine Institute Student Fellowship • $25,000

2016 • NPRB Best Student Poster • Alaska Marine Science Symposium



Proficiency in current bioinformatics pipelines pertinent to amplicon (mothur & DADA2) and metagenomic (PATRIC, RAST, BBTools, HMMER) sequence data


Five years of experience with processing environmental DNA samples from in situ Arctic marine sediments both uncontaminated and contaminated with crude oil including: lyophilization, DNA extraction, PCR, and library preparation

Participated in four research expeditions, 2 in the Arctic and 2 over the Monterey, CA submarine canyon


Designed and conducted a 300+ bottle biodegradation incubation experiment with in situ Arctic marine sediments


NAUI Master Diver with over 200 dives, the vast majority in Central California, Channel Islands, Southern Oregon, and French Polynesia

AAUS Certified Scientific Diver – PISCO trained



MBARI Internship

MBARI Internship

US Transboundary

US Transboundary

NOAA Ocean Explorers

NOAA Ocean Explorers