My research interests focus on the taxonomy, systematics and biogeography of the Malagasy flora. I am conducting ongoing research on the St. John’s wort family, Hypericaceae, and the princess flower family, Melastomataceae, and am also investigating the relationships between Malagasy species and closely related groups from mainland Africa and the New World.
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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.
Claudia Rocha is a Lab and Collection Manager for the Microbiology Department. She also manages the Ichthyology Tissue Collection where researchers around the world can request genetic samples as loans to answer questions on evolution, ecology, biodiversity and even climate change. One of her research focuses is on coral reef fishes, primarily on discovering viruses in coral reef fishes at different ecosystems. Her last publications are descriptions of new species of fish.
I am the Curator of Geology, and I've been at the Academy since 1999. I hold degrees in Biology (B.Sc.), Oceanography (M.S.) and Geology (Ph.D.). My research is transdisciplinary, with a focus on understanding the evolution of ecological systems, emphasizing paleontology, deep time, and perspectives on complexity dynamics. Most of my research these days centers around global change biology, and how we can further develop our understanding of Earth's past ecosystems to better forecast our future.
At the Academy, I oversee all computing activities within the research group. While this role primarily supports collections data and genomics research, it also encompasses many other aspects of the scientific work we do.
My ongoing research interests are on moss floristics and basic bryophyte inventory activities. My field work shifted around 1997 from flowering plants to bryophytes with an emphasis in bryogeography through specimen acquisition to expand the diversity of the collections within the CAS herbarium. Thirteen plant species have been named in my honor including seven flowering plants and six mosses including the moss genus Shevockia endemic to Asia.
The Simison lab investigates the processes that generate, maintain, and reduce biodiversity. In particular, we are interested in the process of speciation. We use comparative genomics techniques such as RADseq, Ultra Conserved Elements, transcriptomics, and whole genomes to study the role of admixture and introgression in speciation. We are currently focusing on the globally invasive red eared slider turtle system (Trachemys scripta elegans) native to North America.