Understanding the Diversity of Life

At the Dunn lab we develop methods and tools to study phylogenetics (evolutionary relationships), and apply these to the study of animal diversity. We are particularly interested in understanding the deepest relationships in the animal phylogeny, as well as learning about the evolution of siphonophores – a remarkable group of oceanic animals that includes the Portuguese man o’ war. The phylogenetic methods we use infer species and gene relationships from genome-scale data, and in turn use these relationships to study the evolution of genome function, development, organism form, and evolution function. Our research includes collecting marine organisms, sequencing genomic data in the lab, and developing and applying computational tools.

Many of the questions we work on require new computational methods and tools. We develop and implement new methods, connect existing analysis tools in new ways, and are particularly interested in engineering analyses so that they are open, transparent, reproducible, and easy to extend. Our data analysis tools are available at bitbucket and on github.