Global Change Biology

I am interested in how impacts from climate change (e.g., ocean acidification, warming, etc.) affect marine invertebrates. Understanding the processes by which organisms respond to their changing environments is necessary if we are to make accurate predictions and informed decisions regarding conservation efforts, seafood safety and security, and many other challenges we face as climate change continues. 

I use a variety of physiological and molecular approaches to investigate how organisms interact with and respond to their environments. I am particularly fascinated by mechanisms that may confer rapid phenotypic plasticity, and how they can influence ecological and evolutionary processes in marine systems.

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The sea urchin, Diadema antillarum, plays a vital role in Caribbean coral reef ecosystems, which are threatened by climate change. I am investigating the role of epigenetic process in providing rapid phenotypic plasticity to these urchins. 

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The methyltransferase like (METTL) proteins constitute a family of methyltransferases that modify DNA, RNA, and proteins. I have explored the evolutionary mechanisms driving the diversification and functional differentiation of METTL proteins across metazoans.

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REU student, Jesse Margolies, and I worked together this summer as part of FIU's REU Site program: Understanding Coastal Ecosystems. Jesse studied how sea urchin physiology and DNA methylation is affected by different salinities.

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The E5 Coral team, formed by six research labs across five institutions, aims to predict phenotypic and eco-evolutionary consequences of environmental energetic epigenetic linkages in reef-building corals.

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The red sea urchin is ecologically important as a kelp forest herbivore and economically valuable as a wild fishery species. I studied how stressors associated with climate change impact the early development of these sea urchins.

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The environmental conditions experienced by the parental generation can impact the phenotype of their offspring. I examined how adult conditioning to different combined temperature and pH levels affected the offspring response to abiotic stress.

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Led by researchers at UC Santa Barbara and the Cawthron Institute, an ongoing collaborative project focuses on investigating transgenerational plasticity in the New Zealand greenshell mussel.

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The Antarctic pteropod, Limacina helicina antarctica, plays an integral role in the Antarctic food web. I investigated how these pteropods are impacted by ocean warming and ocean acidification.