Associate Professor of Biology
Ph.D., SUNY Stony Brook, Department of Ecology and Evolution 1992
M.Sc., SUNY Stony Brook, Marine Science Research Center 1982
B.S., North Carolina State University 1979
My primary area of interest is in Evolutionary Biology. Though I am fascinated with most aspects of the field, I am mostly interested in molecular evolution, phylogenetic systematics, and population genetics. In particular, my research revolves around the construction of phylogenetic trees using DNA sequence data and the insights these trees provide when studying evolutionary processes. I am particularly interested in the role natural selection plays in driving patterns of molecular variation within and among natural populations. Though I have worked on a broad cross section of life, from bacteria to humans, I have to admit to a strong bias towards marine organisms, and fish in particular. Below is a brief summary of my research interests.
- Systematics and phylogeography of coral reef and neotropical freshwater fishes.
- Role of natural selection in driving patterns of molecular diversity.
- Application of systematics and population genetics to conservation biology.
- BIO 111 Evolution and Ecology
- BIO 303 Evolution
- BIO 316 Molecular Biology and Genomics
- BIO 317 Molecular Ecology and Evolution
- BIO 318 Tropical Field Biology
When not working, I try to spend as much time as possible with my family. My personal interests include Aikido and jujutsu, running, biking, and SCUBA diving.
Selected Publications, Creative Work, or Performances
Morris, R.L., M.P. Hoffman, R.A. Obar, S.S. McCafferty, I.R. Gibbons, A.D. Leone, J. Cool, E.L. Allgood, A.M. Musante, K.M. Judkins, B.J. Rossetti, A.P. Rawson, and D.R. Burgess. 2006. Analysis of cytoskeletal and motility proteins in the sea urchin genome assembly. Develomental Biology, 300: 219-237.
Sea Urchin Genome Sequencing Consortium. 2006. The Genome of the Sea Urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Science, 314: 941-952.
McCafferty S, Bermingham E, Quenouille B, Planes S, Hoelzer G, Asoh K. 2002. Historical biogeography and molecular systematics of the Indo-Pacific genus Dascyllus (Teleostei: Pomacentridae). Molecular Ecology, 11:1377-92
Banford HM, Bermingham E, Collette B, and McCafferty S. 1999. Phylogenetic systematics of the Scomberomorus regalis (Teleostei: Scombridae) species group: molecules, morphology and biogeography of Spanish Mackerels. Copeia, 1999(3): 596?613.
Bermingham, E., S. McCafferty and A. Martin. 1997. Fish biogeography and molecular clocks: perspectives from the Panamanian Isthmus. Pp . 113-138. In Kocher, T.D. and C. Stepien (eds). Molecular Systematics of Fishes. Academic Press, NY.
There are a number of research projects in my lab that students work on. Some current projects include:
- Variation at the MHC Class I and II gene regions and its correlation with disease state in stranded marine mammals.
- Variation at the MHC Class I and II gene regions within and among local populations of the grey sealHalichoerus grypus.
- Identification of the toll-like receptor gene regions in the grey seal Halichoerus grypus.
- Microsatellite development in the vernal pool fairy shrimp Eubranchipus vernalis.
- Adaptive molecular variation in threatened and endangered species: MHC Class I variation in local populations of the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin).
If you are interested in working in my lab, or have a particular project you want to pursue, by all means come by. Below is a list of previous student collaborators and their projects.
Amanda Shorette ('09) - "Variation at the Major Histocompatability Complex Class I (MHC I) ÃŽâ€° gene region in local populations of the diamondback terrapin Malaclemys terrapin. (BIO500 Honor's Thesis Fall 2008 and Spring 2009)
Jacob Korzun (Ã¢ï£¿Ã¿09) Ã¢ï£¿â‰¥ Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci in the vernal pool fairy shrimp Eubranchipus vernalis.
Kelly Griffin (Ã¢ï£¿Ã¿09) Ã¢ï£¿â‰¥ Adaptive molecular variation at immune loci in the grey seal Halichoerus grypus. (BIO399)
Jennifer Carrol (Ã¢ï£¿Ã¿09) Ã¢ï£¿â‰¥ MHC Class I and II loci in the spotted salamander Ambystioma maculatum.
Laura Fleck ('08) - The identification of the Major Histocompatability Complex (MHC) Class I and Class II genes in diamondback terrapin Malaclemys terrapin. (BIO499 Fall 2007 and Spring 2008)
Mary Ostrander (Ã¢ï£¿Ã¿08) Ã¢ï£¿â‰¥ Major histocompatability complex (MHC) variation in stranded marine mammals and its correlation with disease. (BIO499, Fall 2007, Spring 2008)
Ashley Jennings ('07) - Multiple paternity in the spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias. (Bio499 Spring 2006)
Erin Allgood ('07) - Genetic variation in the invasive watermilfoil Myriophyllum spicatum. (Bio499 Spring 2006)
Robert Borkowski ('06) - The diversity of sulfate reducing bacteria in Boston Harbor. (Bio499 Fall 2005 and Spring 2006)
Roxana Mesias ('06) - Subcloning of the leucine rich extracellular domain of the human toll-like receptor 4 gene into the pET23b expression plasmid. (Bio499, Fall 2005)
Liz Jacques ('05) - Finding genetic markers for population genetic analysis of Malaclemys terrapin. (Bio500 Fall 2004 and Spring 2005; Committee Member)
Maris Madeira ('05) - Spatial variation in the introduced asian shore crab Hemigrapsus sanguenensis along the east coast of the U.S. (Bio499 Fall 2004 and Spring 2006)
Chris Wilbur ('05) - Phylogeography of the fairy shrimp Eubranchipus vernalis in Massachusetts vernal pools. (Bio499 Fall 2004 and Spring 2005)
Nick Warren ('04) - Spatial variation in fairy shrimp populations at differing geographic scales. (Bio499, Fall 2003 and Spring 2004)