My doctoral and postdoctoral research was on nudibranchs, a subgroup of sea slugs, because of their amazing diversity of shapes and colors. To understand what I mean by their amazing diversity, one only has to do a Google images search on nudibranchs. Their brightly patterned bodies and interesting shapes are enough to spark anyone’s curiosity. For my PhD I studied how the process of shifting to a new coral host species has resulted in the formation of new species in the genus Tenellia. I did this by analyzing the genomic divergence between species on different hosts to identify adaptation to those hosts.
For my postdoctoral research I continued to use genetics to study how coral-association has influenced the diversification of all coral-associated nudibranchs. See my recent paper in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution!
I am continuing to collect data on coral-feeding nudibranchs using a citizen science project on iNaturalist. Recent observations are posted to my home page. Please share this project with any snorkelers and divers you know!