Most animals with eyes have a pair of them on their head. However, some animals -- such as certain bivalves and chitons -- have dozens to hundreds of separate eyes distributed across their bodies. What behaviors do these eyes influence? How may the visual world appear to these animals once its filtered through their unusual visual systems?
Evolution of complex traits
How and why do new complex traits -- such as jet-propelled swimming in scallops or metal-coated teeth in chitons -- evolve? To seek answers, we identify the structural and genetic components of these traits and ask how, why, when, and in what order they came to be associated.
Recent instances of eye evolution in mollusks may help us learn about the co-evolution of sensory systems and neural structures. For example, scallops are unusual among bivalves for having sophisticated eyes, a wide range of light-influenced behaviors, and a relatively complex nervous system.
If you are interested in pursuing a PhD or MS with us, we would love to hear from you! The goal is for all graduate students to establish their own research projects. That said, please consider carefully the systems that we have experience working with and the sorts of questions that we're asking. The traits we most value in prospective students are curiosity, integrity, and independence.
We welcome undergraduates to apply to work in the lab. We believe that undergraduates benefit from being responsible for their own independent projects. Previous lab experience is unnecessary, but please take a close look at our on-going projects and come to us with an idea of which project you'd like to contribute to and/or what lab techniques you'd like to learn.