Molecular Ecology Group
Worldwide expeditions led by Bob Vrijenhoek and his colleagues have resulted in the discovery of many new species of deep-sea crabs, clams, mussels, snails, tubeworms and bacteria. Understanding the evolutionary relationships among deep-sea species and placing them in the tree-of-life has been a major goal of research efforts.
Analyses of DNA sequences from nuclear and mitochondrial genes have allowed us to reconstruct the recent demographic history of species. Rates of gene flow, geographical patterns of differentiation, and interspecific hybridization have been documented now for a number of deep-sea animals that live at vents and seeps.