Damon Williford is a Research Scientist and Lab Technician for Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. He was born in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, but moved from there two years later when his father, a member of the U.S. Army, was sent to Germany. Damon developed strong appreciation of nature and wildlife while living in Germany and later in Georgia and Texas. His interest in nature eventually developed into a passion for biology and science as a whole.
Damon graduated from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi with a B.S. in Biology (2001) and remained at TAMUCC to earn a M.S. in Biology (2006). Damon taught as a full time instructor for two years at Coastal Bend College before enrolling in Texas A&M University-Kingsville to earn a Ph.D. (2013). He was hired as a lab technician in 2010 for the Lehmann and Molecular Genetics Research Laboratories with CKWRI, and was promoted to a research scientist position in 2014.
Damon's doctoral research focused on assessing geographic patterns of genetic variation in the northern bobwhite, scaled quail, and Gambel's quail using maternally-inherited mitochondrial DNA. He has also participated in genetic research on pocket gophers, prairie chickens, and other species. Damon has also utilized niche modelling to assess how past climate change may have affected the geographic distribution of quail and prairie chickens. Damon is currently in the laboratory phase of a new genomics study of the northern bobwhite, which will assess differences in genetic diversity and variation in the nuclear genome of this species.