The Halanych Lab
Marine Invertebrate Evolution and Systematics

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Diversity of marine invertebrate is far greater than most people realize. In the Halanych lab, we are trying to understand how such extensive morphological variation came about by exploring questions on different time scales and with different types of genomic information. Combining a molecular systematic and/or genomic approach with information from organismal evolution has proved a powerful approach to study everything from the origin of major animal lineages to the recent biogeographic history of commercially important species.


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    Kenneth M. Halanych, Ph.D.

    Ken is broadly interested in marine invertebrate evolution. By combining genomic and bioinformatic tools with organismal biology, he has explored questions of deep animal phylogeny, chemosynthetic ecosystems, population genomics, and Antarctic biology. He is involved on a number of fronts with promoting the use of genomic and informatics to better understand marine systems. Those interested in joining the lab should contact him.

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    Candace enjoys investigating how marine invertebrates have adapted and evolved to cope with environmental stressors. She is interested in studying these responses at all levels of scale, from genes to geographic distributions.

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    Mike's dissertation focuses on the evolution of metazoan immune systems. Broadly, he is interested in all the strange, enigmatic marine invertebrates that bend the rules of how we think biology 'ought to work.'

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    Kyle's interests broadly encompass large scale patterns of animal evolution but usually involve whole genome duplication events to some extent. He is also interested in computational tools which seek to understand non-model taxa, as well as assess how overreliance on model systems may bias current methods.

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    Caitlin Redak
    Ph.D. Candidate

    Caitlin Redak is a PhD student studying population genomics of marine invertebrates. She is interested in understanding how different relationships between populations influence evolutionary pressures and utilizing population genomics to aid in conservation.

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    Oluchi is broadly interested in using different omics tools to study the interaction (pathogenic and non-pathogenic) between microbes and multicellular organisms as well as understand their roles in different environments.

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    Yu Sun, M.Sc.
    Ph.D. Student

    Yu graduated from Ocean University of China in 2019 with a master's degree. Her primary research is on the mitochondria of seastars. She is captivated by the evolutionary relationships in echinoderms. She is interested in using molecular and morphological data to investigate the systematics, phylogeography, population genetics, and comparative biology of invertebrate animals.

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    Kyle B. Donnelly
    Master's Student

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    Damien S. Waits, M.Sc.

    Damien enjoys solving problems through computional solutions. He is broadly interested in the evolution and genetics of animals with unique lifestyles such as deep-sea chemosynthetic organisms and their adaptations to their unique environment. He also enjoys getting his hands dirty, whether that's sampling on a vessel or maintaining a research station.

  Past Personnel       Current Location
  Viktoria Bogantes       University of West Florida
  Li Yuanning       Vanderbilt University
  Matt Galaska       NOAA Seattle
  Pamela Brannock   SUNY Oswego
  Nathan Whelan       US Fish & Wildlife
  Kevin Kocot   University of Alabama
  Johanna Cannon       UC Santa Barbara
  Alexis Janosik       Univ. Western Florida
  Dan Thornhill       National Science Foundation
  Liz Borda       Texas A&M University at Galveston
  Rebecca Hunter       Abilene Christian University
  Min Zhong       Auburn University
  Andy Mahon       Central Michigan University
  Nerida Wilson       Western Australian Museum
  Torsten Struck       Univ. of Olso Nat. History Museum
  Rob Jennings       Temple University
  Thomas Dahlgren       Gothenberg University
  Tim Shank       Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  Yale Passamaneck       Bureau of Reclamation, Denver

Recent Publications

In Press

Oyekwe, O., K. M. Halanych. In Press. Genome-wide characterization of LTR retrotransposons in the non-model deep-sea annelid Lamellibrachia luymesi. BMC Genomics.

Bogantes, V. E. M. J. Boyle, K. M. Halanych. Submitted. New reports of Pseupodolydora (Annelida: Spionidae) from the East Coast of Florida, including the non-native species P. paucibranchiata. Biological Invasions.

Wilson, C. A., N. M. Dannreuther, J. W. Farrington, M. G. Feldman, K. M. Halanych, J. L. Pettit, J. Rullkötter, P. A. Sandifer, J. G. Shepherd, D. Westerholm, C. J. Yanoff, L. A. Zimmermann. Summary of Findings and Research Recommendations from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. Oceanography 34:XX–XX,

Halanych, K. M., C. H. Ainsworth, E. E. Cordes, R. E. Dodge, M. Huettel, I.A. Mendelssohn, S. A. Murawski, C. B. Paris-Limouzy, P. T. Schwing, R. F. Shaw, T. Sutton. Submitted. Effects of petroleum by-products and dispersants on ecosystems. Oceanography 34:XX–XX,

Halanych, K. M., D. Westerholm. Submitted. Considerations for scientists, especially biologists, getting involved in oil spill research. Oceanography 34:XX–XX,

Murawski, S. A., M. Grosell, C. Smith, T. Sutton, K. M. Halanych, R. Shaw, C. A. Wilson. Submitted. Chapter 10: Impacts of Petroleum, Petroleum Components and Dispersants on Organisms and Populations. Oceanography 34:XX–XX,

Weiman, S., S. B. Joye, J. E. Kostka, R. R. Colwell, K. M. Halanych. In Press. Microbial Genomics of the Global Ocean System. Oceanography 34:XX–XX,


Galaska, M.P, D. S. Wethey, A. Arias, S. F. Dubois, K. M. Halanych, S. A. Woodin. 2021. Hitching a ride: The impact of aquaculture on the genetics and distribution of the onuphid annelid Diopatra biscayensis. Ecology and Evolution.

David, K. T., K. M. Halanych. 2021. Proximity between polyploids across South American frog genera. Journal of Biogeography.

Ingels, J., R. B. Aronson, C. R. Smith, A. Baco, H. M. Bik, J. A. Blake, A. Brandt, M. Cape, D. Demaster, E. Dolan, E. Domack, S. Fire, H. Geisz, M. Gigliotti, H. Griffiths, K. M. Halanych, C. Havermans, F. Huettmann, S. Ishman, S. Kranz, A. Leventer, A. R. Mahon, J. McClintock, M. L. McCormick, B. G. Mitchell, A. Murray, L. Peck, A. Rogers, B. Shoplock, K. E. Smith, B. Steffel, M. R. Stukel, A. Sweetman, M. Taylor, A. R. Thurber, M. Truffer, A. van de Putte, A. Vanreusel, M. A. Zamora-Duran. 2021. Antarctic Ecosystem Responses following Ice Shelf Collapse and Iceberg Calving: Science Review and Future Research. WIRE’s Climate Change. 2021:e682.


Li, Y., K. T. David, X.-X. Shen, J. L. Steenwyk, K. M. Halanych, A.Rokas. 2020. Feature Frequency Profile-based phylogenies are inaccurate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. On-line letter.

Belato, F. A., C. J. Coates, K. M. Halanych, R. E. Weber, E. M. Costa-Paiva. 2020. Evolutionary history of the globin gene family in annelids. Genome Biology and Evolution 12:1719-1733.

Kong, L., K. M. Kocot, Y. Yang, L. Qi, Q. Li, K. M. Halanych. 2020. Mitogenomics reveals phylogenetic relationships of Arcoida (Mollusca, Bivalvia) and multiple independent expansions in mitochondrial genome size. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 150:106857.

Erséus, C., B. W. Williams, K. M. Horn, K. M. Halanych, S. R. Santos, S. W. James, M. C. des Châtelliers, F. E. Anderson. 2020. Phylogenomic analyses reveal a Paleozoic radiation and support a fresh water origin for clitellate annelids. Zoologica Scripta49:614-640.

Zhou. Y., Y. Li, H. Cheng, K. M. Halanych, C. Wang. 2020. The mitochondrial genome of the bone-eating worm Osedax rubiplumus (Annelida, Siboglinidae). Mitochondrial DNA Part B: Resources 5:2267-2268.

Townsend, J.P., M. G. Tassia, A. Damian-Serrano, N. V. Whelan, K. M. Halanych, A. M. Sweeney. 2020. A mesopelagic ctenophore representing a new family, with notes on family-level taxonomy in Ctenophora: Vampyroctena delmarvensis gen. nov. sp. nov (Vampyroctenidae, fam. nov.). Marine Biodiversity 50:34.

Alves, P. R., K. M. Halanych, C. S. G. Santos. 2020. The phylogeny of Nereididae (Annelida) based on mitochondrial genomes. Zoologica Scripta 49: 366–378.

David, K. T., J. R. Oaks, K. M. Halanych. 2020. Patterns of Gene Evolution Following Duplications and Speciations in Vertebrates. PeerJ 8:e8813

Bogantes, V. E., N. V. Whelan, K. Webster, A. R. Mahon, K. M. Halanych. 2020. Unrecognized diversity of a scale worm, Polyeunoa laevis (Annelida: Polynoidae), that feeds on soft coral. Zoologica Scripta 49:236-249.

Kocot, K.M., A. J. Poustka, I. Stöger, K. M. Halanych, M. Schrödl. 2020. New data from Monoplacophora and a carefully-curated dataset resolve molluscan relationships. Scientific Reports 10:101.

Garey, J.B., C.B. Cameron, K.M. Halanych, J.A. Servin, J.A. Lake. 2020. Deuterostomia. Pp.607-610. In Ed. K. de Queiroz, P. D. Cantino, J. A. Gauthier, Phylonyms, A Companion to the PhyloCode, 1st Edition. CRC Press.

Lake, J.A., K.M. Halanych, M.C. Rivera, J.A. Servin, J.R. Garey. 2020. Ecdysozoa. Pp. 555-556. In Ed. K. de Queiroz, P. D. Cantino, J. A. Gauthier, Phylonyms, A Companion to the PhyloCode, 1st Edition. CRC Press.

Halanych, K.M., J.R. Garey, J.A. Servin, J.A. Lake. 2020. Lophotrochozoa. Pp. 485-488. In Ed. K. de Queiroz, P. D. Cantino, J. A. Gauthier, Phylonyms, A Companion to the PhyloCode, 1st Edition. CRC Press.

Garey, J.R., K.M. Halanych, J.A. Servin, J.A. Lake. 2020. Protostomia. Pp. 479-483. In Ed. K. de Queiroz, P. D. Cantino, J. A. Gauthier, Phylonyms, A Companion to the PhyloCode, 1st Edition. CRC Press.

Lake, J.A., J.R. Garey, J.A. Servin, K.M. Halanych. 2020. Bilateria. Pp. 475-477. In Ed. K. de Queiroz, P. D. Cantino, J. A. Gauthier, Phylonyms, A Companion to the PhyloCode, 1st Edition. CRC Press.

Garey, J.A., K.M. Halanych. 2020. Metazoa. Pp. 418-419. In Ed. K. de Queiroz, P. D. Cantino, J. A. Gauthier, Phylonyms, A Companion to the PhyloCode, 1st Edition. CRC Press.