Research Areas and Sub-Specialties

Molecular Ecology and Evolution

ScallopsDepartment faculty research features a diversity of applications of molecular biology to problems in the natural history, ecology, and evolution of terrestrial, freshwater, marine and estuarine organisms. Examples of ongoing research, ranging across levels of biological organization, include the following. At the gene and genome levels, research focuses on the functional consequences of the evolution of DNAs, RNAs and proteins in algae and sea urchins, and comparative and functional genomics of maize and blue crabs. Work at the level of the individual includes identification of clonal structure in seagrasses, molecular "tracking" of bivalves released in restoration programs, and molecular sexing of seabirds. Examples of population-level research are studies of paternity in sharks and phylogeography of endemic mammals and many other groups. At the species level and above, speciation and hybridization in marine invertebrates and fishes is emphasized, as is conservation genetics of threatened and endangered darters, silversides and freshwater mussels. Fisheries genetics research is conducted by several faculty, with applications to marine protected areas an emerging focus. A concentration of expertise exists in the field of molecular systematics, particularly of marine and freshwater algae and marine and terrestrial higher plants. Facilities are spread across several laboratories on main campus and at the Center for Marine Science (CMS). The CMS DNA Analysis Facility maintains one ABI 377 and one ABI 3100 Genetic Analyzer with state-of-the art computing and software required for high-throughput automated DNA sequencing and fragment analysis.

Faculty researching this area include:

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Marcel van Tuinen

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Ami Wilbur

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J. Craig Bailey

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