Evolutionary and ecological genomics of marine invertebrate animals.
Animals evolve because their genomes need to respond to the constantly changing environment presented by both their external habitat and their internal microbial symbionts. Over evolutionary time, these different factors interact during development, when the animal body plan is being established, to generate the extraordinary animal diversity that graces our planet. In ecological time, early life history stages must detect and respond to the precise nature of their environment to generate a locally-adapted functional phenotype. Using coral reef invertebrates from phyla that span the animal kingdom, we study these gene-environment interactions using genomic, molecular and cellular approaches combined with behavioural ecology in natural populations. We work mostly with embryonic and larval life history stages of indirect developers, as these are crucial to the survival, connectivity, and evolution of marine populations. When not immersed in the molecular or computer lab, we are lucky enough to be immersed in the ocean, often in beautiful places!