My lab investigates the diversity and role of prokaryotes and eukaryotes in terrestrial and marine environments. Current projects explore potential relationships between bacteria and marine invertebrates, taxonomy, and genomics.
My research focuses on water microbiology and related public health issues, with the overarching goal of improving our water environments and public health. My research projects cover a wide range of aquatic environments, and are typically guided by the State’s needs and interests in water quality.
My lab studies soil-associated organisms and how they interact in symbiosis with each other and their environment. The broad array of projects is aimed at understanding the functional contributions of microorganisms to their environments. We use a multi-disciplinary approach to understand their ecology, diversity, evolution, and place in the Tree of Life. Our experiments can be found in fields, forests, and greenhouses, and in both natural and managed ecosystems, with a focus on tropical environments.
My research program is focused on understanding the molecular evolution of visual systems in invertebrates. Specifically, most of my studies investigate crustaceans, including crabs, mantis shrimp, and copepods. My research is integrative, and while it is based in molecular techniques, phylogenetic analyses, and tools such as PCR, I also incorporate studies of ecology, behavior, and physiology into my work for a more comprehensive understanding of visual system evolution.
The study of Hawaiian algae has a long and fascinating history. The projects in our laboratory span the freshwater, marine and terrestrial algal floras of the islands, and include a broad diversity of algal lineages. We have been characterizing the systematics of these algae as well as their biogeographic affinities, and are now beginning to examine their modes of dispersal to the Hawaiian Islands. We are also beginning to explore the purported link between toxin-producing cyanobacteria and avian botulism on the island of Kauai.
My lab's research focuses broadly on evolutionary biology and conservation. We're interested in phylogenetics (the study of evolutionary history), bioinformatics, and have a fondness for amphibians and reptiles (although we work with several other organisms also). We do a lot of different types of work in the lab, some involves doing field work, some involves molecular work and genetic sequencing, and some of it involves writing computer code. It's all united in its focus on making better sense of the history of life and conserving biodiversity.
Our team is interested in the Brain Evolution and related processes. Animals evolve sensory system and their behavioral strategy to survive and raise fecundity under the given environment. However, their genetic, molecular and neurophysiological bases are not well resolved. We are using the Mexican tetra, blind cavefish and its conspecies, eyed surface fish to understand how the enhanced sensors are well integrated into the central processing, and how internal state (appetite, sleep, mating motivation) co-regulates behavioral output. We are also investigating the regulators for the internal state by studying a set of autism-like behaviors (asocial, hyperactive, sleep-less, imbalanced attention), and gut-microbiota whose metabolites affects the brain activities. Overall, we use genetics, genomics, pharmacology, molecular biology, neurobiology, computer-aided behavioral assays to investigate the brain evolution.