Much of biology pivots on the action of genes, microbes and evolution, which our research focuses upon. Microbes live on almost every available habitat of the planet and provide mostly beneficial services and products, such as oxygen to breathe and potential new medicines. Genes and the DNA that all organisms have, represent the thread that connects all life forms including microbes and simple marine organisms. Biotechnology has now provided faster and less expensive ways to generate genetic sequcnce data that impacts multiple biological disciplines such as medicine, molecular biology and ecology. Evolution hinges on the variation in DNA sequences.
Our research at the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography of Nova Southeastern University, involves all of the above major topics, but applies them to specific questions in marine invertebrate-microbial symbiosis, genomics and metagenomics, gene expression of oil-exposed organisms, marine microbiology, and the organization of organismal relationships called systematics/phylogenetics. We have recently initiated a Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance or GIGA (http://GIGA-cos.org), that will apply genome sequencing of non-model invertebrate species, and Dr Lopez is also involved with other sponge biologists to help characterize microbial diversity via high throughput DNA sequencing in the global Earth Microbiome Project (earthmicrobiome.org) and the DEEPEND consortium (Deep Pelagic Nekton Dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico –http://www.deependconsortium.org).