Wai Leong

Graduate Student
Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
USC Dornsife College of Arts and Sciences
3616 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371
Email:waileong [at] usc [dot] edu

Research Interests

Ecology and evolution of marine invertebrates

I am currently in the Edmands lab, working on local adaptation of the intertidal copepod Tigriopus californicus. For my PhD project, I am interested in latitudinal patterns of, and physiological and genetic mechanisms underlying heat and salinity tolerance.


M.S. Marine Biology 2009 University of North Carolina Wilmington
B.Sc. Life Sciences 2007 National University of Singapore


2012 Foley BR, CG Rose, DE Rundle, W Leong & S Edmands, in prep. Genetic basis of postzygotic isolation in a marine copepod is highly dependent on gender and mitochondrial background.
2011 Foley BR, CG Rose, DE Rundle, W Leong, GW Moy, RS Burton & S Edmands, 2011. A gene-based SNP resource and linkage map for the copepod Tigriopus californicus. BMC Genomics 12:568.
2011 Leong W, Pawlik JR. Comparison of reproductive patterns among 7 Caribbean sponge species does not reveal a resource trade-off with chemical defenses. JEMBE 401:80-84.
2010 Leong W, Pawlik JR. Fragments or propagules? Reproductive trade-offs among two Callyspongia spp. from Florida coral reefs. Oikos 119:1417-1422.
2010 Leong W, Pawlik JR. Evidence of a resource trade-off between growth and chemical defenses among Caribbean coral reef sponges. MEPS 406:71-78.
2009 Leong W. Patterns of resource allocation in Caribbean coral reef sponges. MS thesis. University of North Carolina Wilmington.
2007 Leong W. Enhancing coral recruit survivorship through settlement substrate relocation. Honours thesis. National University of Singapore.


2012 Leong W. Local adaptation in Tigriopus californicus populations 2012 Evolution Meeting, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
2011 Leong W. Natural variation and selective pressure of environmental stressors on Tigriopus californicus Western Society of Naturalists Annual Meeting, Vancouver, WA.
2011 Leong W. Does the environment contribute to speciation in Tigriopus californicus? 2011 Evolution Meeting, Norman, OK.
2010 Leong W. Ecological Speciation in Tigriopus californicus Baja populations 2010 Evolution Meeting, Portland, OR.
2009 Leong W, Pawlik JR. Patterns of resource allocation in Caribbean coral reef sponges. 2009 Benthic Ecology Meeting, Corpus Christi, TX.
2008 Leong W, Pawlik JR. Sexual reproduction and growth form: trade-offs in two species of Callyspongia from Florida. 2008 Graduate Student Symposium, Duke University Marine Lab, Beaufort, NC.
2008 Leong W, Pawlik JR. Is there a trade-off in reproduction and defense in reef sponges? 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, Fort Lauderdale, FL.
2006 Leong W, Chou LM. Enhancing coral recruit survivorship through settlement substrate relocation. 1st Asia-Pacific Coral Reef Symposium, Hong Kong.

Teaching, Talks and Outreach

Teaching assistantships at UNCW: BIO105(Fall 2007, Spring 2009)
Teaching assistantships at USC: BISC120(Fall 2009), BISC221(Spring 2011), BISC120(Fall 2011)
USC Quikscience mentor/judge (2009-2011)
NOSB reviewer/judge (2009-2011)
Genetics lesson at James A. Foshay Learning Center, Wonderkids, Feb 24 2012
Day at the Lab with LBCC students, C-Debi, May 24 2012
Phylogeny lecture with LA charter school teachers, LACSSP Teacher Workshops, Jul 27 2012
Undergraduates mentored: Jennifer Fan (Fall 2011-Spring 2012), Alexander Jaffe (6 week SURE research program, Summer 2012)