- Origin of the crinoid stem. With Bruno David, Michel Roux, Bertrand Lefebvre, we will be using evo-devo techniques that integrate morphology, paleontology, and embryology to determine the origins of the stem of sea lilies, and the subsequent diversification of the group since the Cambrian.
- Deep history of the echinoderms. Again with Bruno David, I am working on the origins of the major clades of the Echinodermata in the early Cambrian.
- New species of sand dollars from the Eocene of the Pacific Northwest. New material collected with Casey Burns from Eocene deposits in the Seattle region are overturning views of the origins of the sand dollars themselves. This entire area is turning out to be something like the Olduvai gorge of the sand dollars.
- Phylogenetic affinities between gorgonian and pennatulacean octocorals (with Jei-Ying Chen).
- New shallow water soft corals from the Pacific coast of North America (with Jeff Goddard).
- New genus of deep-sea North Atlantic sea pen (with Pablo Lopez-Gonzalez).
- Newly discovered morphological structure and niche in a genus of deep-sea octocoral (with Phil Alderslade).
- A fifth kind of polyp in sea pens (with Leen van Ofwegen).
- A new deep-sea soft coral from the Monterey Canyon of California (with Lonny Lundsten).
The Gosliner lab is focused on the training of students in the areas of systematic biology, evolutionary ecology and conservation of coastal marine environments. With funding from the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships in Enhancing Expertise in Taxonomy program, training students in systematic research including species descriptions, phylogenetic reconstruction using both morphological and molecular data sets, biogeography and evolutionary ecology represents a primary focus of lab activity. The current research projects include training students in field collection and documentation, microscopic dissection, pcr and sequencing of molecular samples. Through this program, we have conducted field work in the Philippines, Vanuatu, Palmyra Atoll, Madagascar, Costa Rica, Cape Verde Islands, Portugal, the Azores, South Africa and California to collect specimens for global systematic studies of various clades of nudibranchs. This project includes several key partners. The co-Principle Investigator is Dr. Ángel Valdés, at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Ángel and his students work closely with our lab on all aspects of the project. Our lab also collaborates with Dr. Juan Lucas Cervera, University of Cádiz, Spain and his students. Producing a contemporary phylogeny and revised classification of the Nudibranchia is the primary objective of the project.
Since 1992, the Gosliner lab has also focused its research on the documentation of the biodiversity of opisthobranch gastropods in the Philippine Islands. The Philippines sits at the apex of the Coral Triangle, the tropical region that includes the Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, known to have the richest diversity of any marine area in the world. This work has now documented 812 species of opisthobranchs from Philippine reefs. More than half of these species (52%) are undescribed taxa. The research has been concentrated in the Mabini/Tingloy region along the Verde Island Passage that separates southern Luzon Island. The Verde Island Passage, has been shown to represent the center of the center of marine biodiversity for both shorefishes and opisthobranchs. We have worked closely with fellow Academy Curator, Gary Williams, who studies octocorals from the region. Our key research collaborator in the Philippines is the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and we also work closely with Dr. Kent Carpenter of Old Dominion University. This work provides critical data for conservation biology. We have collaborated closely with several conservation organizations including Pusod, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund and Wildlife Conservation Society to help inform what critical areas require protection. We have also worked with community based conservation groups and educational organizations in the Philippines. The Philippine Coral Reef Exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences was developed as a result of this work and represents a collaboration between the Research, Education, Public Engagement and Aquarium Divisions of the California Academy of Sciences as well.
Fossils & Diatoms: Photographs on Internet.
- Photographing of fossil type collection, using the “Big Kahuna” set up in the project lab, and subsequent posting of images on the internet;
- Photographing of diatom type collection, using high-magnification transmitted light microscope in IZ&G, and subsequent posting of images on the internet;
- Organization and documentation of the incoming Union Oil of California collection of fossil foraminifera.