With an estimated 200,000 species, diatoms are one of the most diverse eukaryotic lineages. They're prolific photosynthesizers, producing the oxygen for one of every five human breaths. Their photosynthetic products include a suite of long-chain fatty acids that are a primary entry point of carbon into marine food webs.
The goal of our research is to identify the ecological and genomic factors driving the evolution and diversification of diatoms. The major areas of current research are described on the Research page. We address these questions using a blend of phylogenetic, experimental, and comparative genomic approaches. Our research takes us out in the field to make collections from oceans, lakes, rivers, bogs, and fens from all over the world. The cultures that come from these collections are the starting point for most projects. Much of the downstream research is highly computational, involving large genomic datasets that require the development of novel analytical approaches. While most lab members become broadly trained in all of these areas, some opt for projects that are strictly computational. See the Publications page for more examples of past and current research projects.