in cold mud
molecular species identification
forams in the hudson


Molecular ecology is the application of molecular biology techniques to traditional ecological research. The presence and abundance of organisms in an ecosystem is measured by the abundance of their DNA or RNA. This is especially useful for organisms that are small, fragile, and/or hard to identify by morphology alone.

Our lab studies foraminifera,which are single-celled organisms. They're small, and many are hard to tell apart, so we've found molecular techniques to be very informative. We are actively developing tools to help us track population changes quickly and accurately. Other work involves species "fingerprinting", genes involved in test formation, and species discovery.

New for November 2003: Molecular techniques reveal hidden species in Antarctic sediment.

Andrea Habura is the lab's resident DNA and RNA specialist. If you have questions about our work, drop her a line.