~Welcome to the Hunter Lab!~ 

This site is dedicated to the research activities of Rebecca Hunter's molecular systematics lab at Abilene Christian University. Our current focus is the NSF-sponsored EchinoToL project: Assembling the Echinoderm Tree of Life. Read more below...

      Assembling the Echinoderm Tree of Life

      Collaborative research with Ohio State University, University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, West Virginia University, University of Guam, Nova Southeastern University, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of Tennessee, and Duke University 

      Echinoderms are among the most easily recognized marine invertebrates, and are ecologically significant in many modern marine environments. They lie in a pivotal position on the tree of life, as they share a recent common ancestor with chordates and provide a crucial link to the deep common ancestor that deuterostomes share with protostomes. The EchinoToL project aims to bring together experts from around the world from paleontological, morphological, developmental, genomic, and analytical disciplines, to better understand the Echinodermata as a whole and its place in animal phylogeny. This collaborative effort will combine molecular and morphological information to create a comprehensive phylogeny of echinoderms, and link that tree to the broader tree of life. 

      The Hunter Lab is working on the Class Ophiuroidea. We are sequencing mitochondrial and nuclear genes from ophiuroids (brittle stars) for phylogenetic analysis. 


      EchinoToL Main Project Page:  http://echinotol.org/

      Tree of Life Web Project:  http://tolweb.org/Echinodermata

      ACU Molecular and Field Biology Research:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/ACU-Molecular-and-Field-Biology-Research/112170055538250?sk=wall

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