My research lab uses next generation sequencing techniques and bioinformatic tools to identify complex patterns of evolutionary adaptations within fishes. Modern genetic tools allow us to tease apart the vast genetic information and variation that occurs within and between species. We use genomes and transcriptomes (genes expressed within a given set of cells or tissue type) to better understand adaptations related to diet, metabolism, and depth. We are interested in looking at the genetic variation of hemoglobin genes within marine fishes and how this is related to adaptations of occupying different oceanic depths. Also, my research program includes understanding how gene copy number, patterns of gene expression, and gut microbiomes contribute to dietary specializations. Overall, our investigations provide insight on the molecular evolutionary processes within fishes to better understand physiological adaptations to their respective habitats.
The Heras lab is now open here in the Biology Department at CSU San Bernardino! I am seeking highly motivated students at the undergraduate or masters level to join my lab. If you are interested in joining my lab and studying questions in evolutionary genetics (especially on fishes), please don't hesitate to contact me via email - Joseph.Heras@csusb.edu