|Larval Developmental Ecology|
My research focuses on the developmental ecology of marine invertebrate larvae. There is tremendous variation in development of the planktonic larval phase of many marine species. Variation could result from genotypic diversity or due to interactions with the environment. Developmental plasticity in response to environmental cues provides a unique perspective from which to view the function and plasticity of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) operating throughout development. While genomic DNA encodes a script for the developmental program, execution of that program can be modified by external factors to increase the adaptive fitness of an individual for the given environment. These responses may be especially important for survival in the face of environmental change and may alter the connectivity of benthic marine species. I use molecular techniques, field experiements, and biological and physical observations to understand mechanisms that impede and/or facilitate larval dispersal and connectivity between populations. Please explore each of my current projects in futher detail using the links to the left.