Department of Biological Sciences
College of Environmental and Life Sciences
University of Rhode Island
The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) has rapidly transcended population genetics to population genomics. Current research focuses on adopting next-generation sequencing technology and embracing an ever-adapting genomic toolkit to take advantage of this unprecedented amount of genetic data. Current research focuses on developing novel exome capture methods for non-model organisms.
As genomic scale data sets become standard in molecular ecology, understanding how to efficiently and accurately process raw data is critical for accuracy in downstream population-level analysis. Current research focuses on RADseq bioinformatics and developing "reference-free" methods for exome captured data analysis.
Life history traits, such as location of fertilization and mode of larval development, have long been thought to influence the evolutionary process of marine organisms, from fine-scale genetic structure to the tempo and mode of speciation. Current research focuses on how population connectivity influences populations on the margins of species ranges.
The environmental impacts of an ever-growing human population cross multiple spatial and temporal boundaries, and marine organisms experience all of these stressors simultaneously, increasing the need for research on synergistic effects. Current research uses controlled, factorial exposure experiments to measure phenotypic and genotypic changes of larvae after exposure to ocean acidification conditions, sewage effluent, and the combination of the two.
Using Fiddler crabs as a model system, our research is implementing a multiscale spatial design focused around three different sewage effluent sources, and will also incorporate other seascape variables such as temperature, salinity, and flow rates. Additionally, the design incorporates both a paired site and gradient design to inform genomic analysis, aiding in the identification of portions of the genome that may be under selection via exposure to sewage effluent.