My research interests and experience are centered on the ecology, evolution, phylogeography (or the geographic distribution of genetic lineages), conservation, biogeography and systematics of coral reef fishes. I frequently try to combine these fields, invoking ecology to help explain evolutionary patterns and using molecular tools to test biogeographic and systematic hypotheses. The overall objective of this interdisciplinary research is to test existing hypotheses (and propose new ones) about what generates and maintains the extremely high biodiversity in tropical coral reefs.
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Maricela joined CAS as a geology curatorial assistant in 2017. From 2020-2022, she was a research assistant on the complex adaptive socio-economic systems (CASES) project and in the summer of 2022 she was a fellow with the Environmental Data Initiative working to mobilize data for the Journey North citizen science program.
My research focuses on the capacity of benthic marine organisms to cope with changing environmental conditions. Specifically, I have devoted the last ten years to understanding how coral reef organisms are impacted by changing seawater chemistry (ocean acidification), alone and in combination with warming.
My research interest revolves around the key issue of how we became human through evolutionary processes. My research program focuses on the discovery and interpretation of hominin fossils and their environments with emphasis on fieldwork designed to acquire new data on early hominid skeletal biology, environmental context, and behavior. I also employ recently developed imaging and visualization techniques to investigate internal and external fossil anatomies.
Using flowering plants to address questions about plant biodiversity, biogeography, and evolution, I am interested in why some families of flowering plants are so species-rich and the factors that have promoted this diversification. Can certain families of plants be used as indicators of biodiversity hotspots and can this information be useful in conservation decisions? I am also studying species in a megadiverse family of plants like Princess Flowers (Melastomataceae) to determine how they are related to one another and where they fit into the tree of life for flowering plants.
I joined the Academy in 2018 as a part-time Curatorial Assistant in Geology. In 2019, I became full-time as part of the NSF OCE grant: The Holocene and Anthropocene as windows into the future of marine systems. As part of this, I assisted in the digitization and management of a crowd-sourced Zooniverse project which digitally transcribed over 5,000 records from our microfossil collection. My other duties include collections care of our fossil and mineral collections, volunteer supervision, specimen digitization, and data cleaning.
Gabriela is the lab technician for the Ichthyology department, where she assists researchers to get molecular data. In addition, she helps to catalog, organize and maintain the Ichthyology tissue collection. Her research interest is in the phylogeny of the genus Chromis, a large group with over 106 described species. As a PhD student in the Integrative Biology Department at UCB, she studies the diving physiology and genetics of sea turtles.
My work in the Botany Department is centered mostly on the vascular plants of China. During the past forty years I have endeavored to build up the collection of Chinese specimens at the CAS herbarium both through collecting expeditions to China as well as through exchange with other institutions. I have been one of the plant family editors as well as an author for some treatments of the Flora of China, an international project that produced an English language flora of all the vascular plants of China.
I am an organismal evolutionary biologist who integrates genomic techniques with field biology to study diversification in amphibians and reptiles. Prior to joining the Academy’s Herpetology Department, I completed a PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley, and I served as Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.