- Biological — Aquatic Invertebrate — Physiology / Organismal biology
- Biological — Aquatic Invertebrate — Population dynamics and monitoring
- Biological — Aquatic Invertebrate — Community structures and dynamics
Education / Outreach Target Audience
- Bachelors students
- Masters / PhD students
I am interested in deciphering the evolutionary history and origins of adaptations in mollusks. This work encompasses the integration of information from ecology, morphology, molecular evolutionary genetics, paleontology and phylogenetics. My research focuses on members of the gastropod genus Conus, one of the most diverse genera of tropical marine mollusks that show a number of feeding specializations. Molecular phylogenies permit the examination of the evolution of a diversity of traits including life history, morphology and feeding mode. These phylogenies also show what influenced the diversification and distributional patterns of this group. I also investigate the molecular evolution of conotoxin genes, genes that encode peptide neurotoxins that are used to stun prey. These genes are members of large gene families, evolve quite rapidly and are presumably related to feeding specializations.