Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Molecular Ecology

Vrijenhoek lab and friends, January 2005

Led by Dr. Bob Vrijenhoek, research in the molecular ecology group focuses on using molecular tools to examine population structure and evolutionary relationships. We are currently working on a number of projects studying gene flow and barriers to dispersal of deep-sea invertebrates associated with cold seeps in the Monterey Bay and hydrothermal vents at ridge sites throughout the world. These invertebrates (clams, mussels, tubeworms, etc.) are dependent on sulfur-oxidizing bacterial symbionts for their survival. We have also been studying DNA sequence information from bacterial symbionts to examine their evolutionary relationships with their hosts and infer possible modes of transmission.

For the past 30 years, the Vrijenhoek lab has also studied genetic diversity and reproductive strategies (sexual vs. asexual reproduction) of Mexican Poeciliid fish (genus Poeciliopsis). Many species of these fish are severely threatened by habitat destruction. Research on these fishes have explored the ways in which the loss of genetic diversity impacts on fitness and have shed some light on issues of conservation.

Current Projects

Molecular Ecology Team
Last updated: Feb. 25, 2014