April 15, 2014

Graduate student Des Ramirez walked away with the lab NCAA bracket challenge, scoring a 96.4% over runner-up, sixth grader, Ian Oakley. Des presciently,nay prophetically chose Big 10 teams like MSU and WI to go deep into the tournament. Second place finisher Ian got off to a good start in the first round, but consistently lost ground after that. Third place finisher and professor Todd Oakley had his brackets completely busted early on when his alma mater, Duke, were knocked out in the first round. At least he filled a bracket, unlike anyone else in the lab.

December 31, 2013

Rey Queso and the Cheese Kings (Todd) got 15.98 points from Andrew Luck and 15.90 from Dez Bryant  to take down The Queens (Nicole), 93.18 - 89.30 in the First Championship of the Oakley Lab Fantasy Football challenge.


December 17, 2013

FORT LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. – Pop Quiz: what creatures make up more than 70% of the approximately 1.9 million described species on earth and have long served as model organisms in many areas of biology? If you guessed invertebrates, you’re right!

November 16, 2013

Congratulations to Des Ramirez for winning the 2013 AMS student research fellowship for his work on extra ocular photoreception in Mollusks.

Image of Oakley presentation
September 04, 2013

Recordings from the Third Annual Spring Symposium, Genome-scale Phylogenetics, hosted by NMNH’s Frontiers in Phylogenetics Program 

July 01, 2013
  • Congratulations to Emily Ellis and the other winners of the 2013 Sys Biol Grad Research Award! 
  • Congratulations to Andrew Swafford and the other 2013 Rosemary Grant Award Winners!
February 15, 2013

Elizabeth Pennisi has written an article about the SICB symposium organized by Todd Oakley and former lab member Jeanne Serb, now a professor at Iowa State University. The article highlights recent findings from our lab and other labs, showing that several animals showing that opsins are used not only in eyes, but in other contexts as well. Our lab is working on extraocular photoreceptors in Cnidaria, Cephalopoda, and Polyplacophora.

Sponge eye artificial color
April 12, 2012

Our research was summarized in Nature magazine.

Their tentacles, contain stinging cells (shown here in red) that aid in movement, defense, and predation. Credit: David Plachetzki
March 05, 2012

 What good is half an eye? Evolutionary biologists studying the origins of vision get that question a lot, and new research out of UC Santa Barbara points to a possible answer. Findings appearing today in the journal BMC Biology indicate that, even in the absence of eyes altogether, some creatures display a light-sensitivity that uses the same visual pathway that allows humans to see.

Head of Daphnia pulex (commonly called water flea). Credit: Christian Laforsch
February 03, 2011

The water flea –– Daphnia pulex –– has the largest inventory of genes ever recorded for a sequenced animal, according to a new study in the journal Science by 69 co-authors. An international team effort to sequence the genome of the water flea included work by UC Santa Barbara biologists.

Daphnia is the first crustacean to have its genome sequenced. The study found that it contains more than 31,000 genes. By comparison, humans have only about 23,000 genes.