Carol Eunmi Lee

Position title: Professor


Phone: 608-262-2675

Integrative Biology and Center for Rapid Evolution
Rapid Evolutionary responses to global change, including biological invasions, climate, and pollution. Genetic architecture of invasive species, functional ecological and evolutionary genomics

430 Birge Hall
Ph.D., University of Washington (1998), Postdoctoral Research: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC-San Diego
Lab Website
Integrative Biology and Center for Rapid Evolution
Research Interests
Genetic architecture of invasive species; evolutionary physiology; functional ecological and evolutionary genomics; niche evolution; speciation, metagenomics of the copepod microbiome
Research Fields
Molecular Ecology, Molecular Evolution, Evolutionary Physiology, Comparative Genomics

Research Description:
Research in my laboratory explores patterns and mechanisms of rapid evolution during invasions into novel habitats. Much of my work examines adaptive evolution within the context of multiple independent invasions to determine whether the same evolutionary pathways are involved during independent invasions. Exploring the degree of parallelism across independent invasions could reveal the degree to which mechanisms of adaptation are labile or constrained.

Using this comparative framework within a phylogenetic context, research in my laboratory is now exploring: (1) physiological evolution during habitat invasions, (2) specific loci that are under selection during habitat shifts, and (3) microbial diversity associated with the invading host, as well as evolution of host-microbiome interactions during invasions.

In addition, my laboratory is now performing comparative genomic analyses to study patterns of genome and physiological evolution across Arthropod lineages. Now, for the first time, we can study lineages outside of insects, such as several crustaceans (copepod, amphipod), chelicerates (spiders, mites, and scorpions), and myriapods (centipede, millipede).

We are now embarking on a study across the phylum Arthropoda to explore physiological adaptations associated with major habitat transitions, i.e., colonizations from marine ancestral habitats into freshwater habitats and onto land. These habitat transitions are important for understanding Arthropod physiology, as these colonizations have led to key innovations and fundamentally shaped the architectural diversity across the Arthropoda. For example, many traits in insects arose as a consequence of invasions by their crustacean ancestors from marine into freshwater and terrestrial habitats, leading to the radiation of insects.

Representative Publications:
See list of Carol Lee’s publications

Stern, DB, CE Lee. 2020. Evolutionary origins of genomic adaptations in an invasive copepod. Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Thomas GWC, E Dohmen, DST Hughes et al. 2020. Gene content evolution in arthropods. Genome Biology. 21:15.

Eyun, S, HY Soh, M Posavi, et al. 2017. Evolutionary history of chemosensory-related gene families across the Arthropoda. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 34:1838-1862.

Lee, CE.  2016. Evolutionary mechanisms of habitat invasions, using the copepod Eurytemora affinis as a model system. Evolutionary Applications. 9: 248-270.

Posavi, M, GW Gelembiuk, B Larget, CE Lee.  2014. Testing for beneficial reversal of dominance during salinity shifts in the invasive copepod Eurytemora affinis, and implications for the maintenance of genetic variation. Evolution. 68:3166-3183.

Lee, CE, GW Gelembiuk.  2008.  Evolutionary origins of invasive populations.  Evolutionary Applications. 1:427-448.