As an undergraduate student at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn, New York, I conducted research on the molecular characterization of Antipatharians (black corals) under the guidance of Professor Mercer R. Brugler and Dr. Estefania Rodriguez in the Black Coral Lab at the American Museum of Natural History. This summer I was fortunate enough to participate in a NSF funded summer research exchange program in Professor McFadden’s lab at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. I’ve been working closely with Dr. Andrea Quattrini and fellow student researcher Alicia Pentico (Harvey Mudd ’19) on the Ultraconserved Elements (UCEs) project in an attempt to clarify phylogenetic relationships within the class Anthozoa. For my portion of the project, I’ve been focusing on relationships among orders of Hexacorallia. The subclass consists of six orders: Actiniaria, Antipatharia, Ceriantharia, Corallimorpharia, Scleractinia and Zoantharia.
Over the last nine weeks I’ve split my time pretty evenly between working in the wet lab on library preparation and hybridization and working in the dry lab on bioinformatics. I’ve constructed three phylogenetic trees using three datasets: mitochondrial DNA, nuclear rDNA (18s and28s) and UCEs. I look forward to the next steps of this project and seeing what evolutionary relationships will be revealed once Alicia and I combine our data.
UCE Project Team
All things Anthozoa, Evolution and Ecology
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