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About Us

The Invertebrate Zoology & Molecular Ecology laboratory at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories consists of Dr. Jonathan Geller, his graduate students, affiliated researchers and post-doctoral associates, and technicians. Our research interests are broadly concerned with the evolution and ecology of marine invertebrates.

Much of our work uses molecular approaches; for example, we use molecular data to investigate study global and local patterns of marine biological invasions, phylogenetic relationships among species, population genetic structure, to identify larvae or members of sibling species complexes, and gene evolution. Our lab has been at the forefront of method development for metagenetic studies of metazoans in varied habitats, from plankton to sediments.

Our studies are motivated by an interest in whole organisms and their natural history;  our projects usually seek to extend our understanding of the adaptation of organisms to their environment. Graduate students are encouraged to develop expertise in both field and laboratory techniques, a general knowledge of the biology of invertebrates, and specific knowledge of the eastern Pacific invertebrate biota.

Lab News:

Big News! Our lab was part of the research group to make the cover of Science for the Sept. 2017 edition for our work on tsunami-driven species dispersal. See the paper here as well as the accompanying perspective piece.

New article out in local paper Redlands Daily Facts regarding the work of our Smithsonian collaborators.

New paper published in PLOS One sharing the first results of work conducted under our PIRE grant regarding the use of ARMS.

Congrats to lab members Martin Guo and Amanda Heidt for being awarded the James Nybbaken and Simpkins Family Marine Science scholarships, respectively.


Primary projects in the Invertebrate Zoology/Molecular Ecology lab are DNA barcoding and invasive species detection in coastal waters of California, Alaska, Chesapeake Bay, Florida, Panama, and the Galapagos Islands. Coupled to the DNA barcoding projects are metagenetic analyses of benthic and plankton communities, in which bulk DNA from entire assemblages are extracted and sequenced by Next Generation Sequencing technology.