Research in the lab is broadly concerned with the systematics and evolutionary biology of fishes. This work is oriented around five major aims: (1) inferring relationships and testing evolutionary hypotheses in the context of such relationships, (2) uncovering the ecological drivers of morphological and lineage diversification, (3) elucidating patterns and processes in spatial and temporal distributions of species and populations within species, (4) understanding the molecular bases of adaptive traits, and (5) documenting the diversity of fish faunas. Our ultimate goal is to identify the factors shaping biodiversity at multiple evolutionary scales. We utilize molecular tools and comparative data to address these topics, using fishes as study systems.
Previous and ongoing projects have focused on unraveling the pattern and tempo of fish evolution using molecular and fossil-based data, addressing the classification of "all fishes", uncovering the factors driving diversification and morphological evolution in relation to habitat transitions (e.g., marine and freshwaters), understanding the sources of phylogenetic conflict in genome-wide data, identifying barriers of marine fish connectivity in the Caribbean, testing hypotheses about the timing of divergence in transoceanic clades, assessing species boundaries, describing new species, among others. Our research approach is currently intensifying the implementation of next generation sequencing technologies for robust inferences of phylogenomics (exon capture), population genomics (RAD markers), and transcriptomics (RNA-Seq). We also use phylogenetic comparative methods and unified approaches that integrate neontological and paleontological evidence to address questions in macroevolutionary research.