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Research interests of The Shank Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab are focused on understanding ecological and evolutionary processes that structure the diversity of deep-ocean benthic communities, including larval dispersal, colonization, habitat utilization, genetic connectivity, and the evolutionary relationships of invertebrate fauna. These studies include seamount and chemosynthetic ecosystems intimately tied to planetary processes significant to the evolution of life on earth. This research strives to provided fundamental insights into the rates and manner in which dynamic physical, biological, and geological processes, all of which are intrinsic to chemosynthetic and seamount ecosystems structural diversity, connect or isolate populations, stimulate genetic divergence, and drive the formation of new species.