Evolution of bioluminescence

Bioluminescence has evolved over 40 times independently in marine systems. We use the diverse, bioluminescent mating and defense displays of Carribean ostracods to understand the molecular basis of bioluminescence and how bioluminescence contributes to speciation.

Affiliated Researchers

Our lab addresses the question of how complex traits originate during evolution. We primarily study invertebrate visual systems and eyes, addressing questions like, when did a particular phenotype evolve? When did the components of that phenotype evolve? Where did those components come from? What evolutionary processes and mechanisms were involved?

Thinking of joining our lab as a graduate student? (Click above)

If you are fascinated by evolution and driven to understand it and communicate what you learn to the world, you might be in the right place! 

Emily is interested in the biochemistry of bioluminescence in fishes and ostracods. She is currently working on isolating and characterizing proteins in midshipman fish. 

Lisa is interested in studying the evolution of novel traits, more specifically, the origin of the 'upper lip' and bioluminescence in ostracods. 

Rebecca Varney is interested in the interplay of stress and the evolution of novel traits and works mainly in aquatic invertebrate systems.