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Jeffry L. Dudycha

University of South Carolina
Dept. of Biological Sciences
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208


Taxa Studied: Plants, Invertebrate Animals, Vertebrate Animals, Daphnia, Gavia, Notothenioidae, Crustacea
Techniques Employed: Degenerate PCR, Quantitative PCR (qPCR), Microarrays, Sanger Sequencing, 454 Pyrosequencing, Solexa (Illumina) Sequencing, Bioinformatics/Sequence Analysis, QTL Mapping, Other, demography, experimental ecology, phenotypic assays
Research Description: Research in our lab is rooted in evolutionary ecology, and unified by the goal of understanding how adaptive & non-adaptive evolutionary processes play out in nature. We seek a mechanistic and holistic understanding of these processes by integrating information ranging from genetic sequences to community structure. Members of the lab pursue many different types of projects, including field demography, life history experiments, population and quantitative genetics, experimental ecology, and genomic analyses. Recently, we have begun projects that involve cell culture, functional genetics, epigenetics, and physiological experiments. Despite the ever-expanding array of tools on our lab benches, we remain anchored in the field. Our conceptual approach is to focus on traits, the features of organisms that set the boundaries of their distributions, mediate their interactions and drive their ultimate success or failure. Focusing on traits allows a mechanistic understanding of the feedback between ecological interactions and evolutionary change. We draw on a variety of disciplines to address fundamental questions about nature and biodiversity: To what extent do adaptive and non-adaptive evolution define the habitats in which a population can persist? How do traits interact, ecologically and evolutionarily, to produce organismal success or failure? How do ecological interactions influence the evolution of gene function, and vice-versa? What are the constraints on adaptation? Integrating diverse types of information necessitates using a wide variety of techniques, and ours include molecular work (DNA sequencing, microsatellite genotyping, gene expression profiles), field work (observational demography, community structure analyses and in-situ experiments) and laboratory phenotypic assays (life tables, growth rate experiments, and hormone manipulations). We explore new techniques as required by the questions we address, and are currently collaborating to develop cellular and molecular tools such as cell lines, a yeast two-hybrid screen, gene knockdown techniques, and expression localization in Daphnia, our main study organism. Keywords: life history, consumer-resource interactions, gut, intestine, vision, eye, aging, senescence, growth rate, reproduction, resource allocation, respiration, phenotypic plasticity, genomics, functional genetics
Lab Web Page: http://www.biol.sc.edu/~dudycha/
Willing to Host Undergraduates: YES
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: YES
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