||School of Natural and Social Sciences
Department of Biology
Office: Bio Sci 322
My research efforts to date have broadly focused on the evolutionary history of bioluminescent organisms and of bioluminescence in the marine environment. I am interested in how the ability to produce light, and the behaviors associated with light, may have evolved, and what role these behaviors play in sexual selection and speciation. My research focuses on a group of ostracode crustaceans in which luminescence is widespread among many closely related taxa. The family Cypridinidae contains several bioluminescent genera containing a total of over 100 species, and a comparable number of non-luminescent taxa. These luminescent ostracodes produce their own source of luciferin and luciferase, the proteins responsible for the production of bioluminescence. These proteins are unique among all other known luminescent systems. Males of over 60 species of luminescent cypridinid ostracodes produce elaborate nightly courtship displays over Caribbean coral reefs.
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