Carol scuba diving

Evolutionary Genetics of Invasive Species

Dr. Carol Eunmi LEE
Center of Rapid Evolution (CORE)

430 Lincoln Drive, Birge Hall
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706

Office:  (608) 262-2675
Lab:  (608) 262-9225

Research in the Lee Lab

Research in the Lee Laboratory focuses on the evolutionary genetics of invasive populations. Much of the research centers on physiological and evolutionary mechanisms of adaptation during parallel freshwater invasions from more saline habitats. A disproportionate number of invaders into freshwater habitats originate from more saline environments. What mechanisms allow particular populations to cross biogeographic boundaries into such radically different environments, when most cannot?

Current research projects include: (1) genomic mechanisms underlying physiological adaption associated with habitat invasions and (2) metagenomics of the microbial assemblage associated with the invading host. Most projects use the copepod Eurytemora affinis as a model system. This small crustacean has invaded freshwater habitats multiple times independently from saline habitats throughout the world. Examining the repeatability of mechanisms underlying freshwater adaptation during parallel invasions could reveal whether these evolutionary pathways are labile or constrained.

Long-term research interests in the Lee Lab focus on evolutionary dynamics at the interface between habitat boundaries, and factors that allow shifts in habitat type. Results from such research not only have broad implications for biological invasions, but also for understanding global anthropogenic change and macroevolutionary processes, such as the colonization of land. 

The Lee Lab is currently seeking graduate students with a strong background or interest in evolutionary biology or physiological ecology, preferably with experience in laboratory molecular genetics or strong quantitative skills. Graduate students in the Lee Lab are admitted through the UW Graduate Program in Genetics or the Department of Zoology. Please contact Carol Lee (carollee(at) if you are interested in joining the Lee Lab.


General Overview


Genetic and Physiological Targets of Selection during Habitat Invasions

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Evolutionary Origins of Invasive Populations

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Metagenomics of the Copepod Microbiome

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Cryptic Speciation among Invasive Populations

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Zebra and Quagga Mussel Invasions

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