Program / Dept 1
Short Research Description
Research in the Lee Laboratory focuses on the evolutionary genetics of invasive populations. Much of the research centers on physiological and evolutionary mechanisms of adaptation during parallel freshwater invasions from more saline habitats. A disproportionate number of invaders into freshwater habitats originate from more saline environments. What mechanisms allow particular populations to cross biogeographic boundaries into such radically different environments, when most cannot?
Current research projects include: (1) genomic mechanisms underlying physiological adaption associated with habitat invasions and (2) metagenomics of the microbial assemblage associated with the invading host. Most projects use the copepod Eurytemora affinis as a model system. This small crustacean has invaded freshwater habitats multiple times independently from saline habitats throughout the world. Examining the repeatability of mechanisms underlying freshwater adaptation during parallel invasions could reveal whether these evolutionary pathways are labile or constrained.