Beth Okamura

Research Interests

Major questions in ecology and evolution include: how do life cycles evolve, how do biotic and abiotic factors affect distributions and abundances, and what is the influence of environmental change on these processes? Research in my group addresses these issues and concentrates on animals with non-standard life histories in order to expand our understanding of life on earth beyond the limited views provided by well-studied model systems with familiar life histories. Our main focus is on colonial invertebrates (bryozoans) and endoparasites (parasitic cnidarians, known as myxozoans, which exploit bryozoans and fish) with areas of research interests including: host-parasite interactions, disease ecology, metapopulation ecology, phylogeography, and the diversity and evolution of myxozoans and bryozoans. DPhil projects focusing on the evolutionary ecology of non-model aquatic organisms are welcome, with details defined in discussion with the student. Projects are likely to entail fieldwork, molecular biology and contributions to collections of the Natural History Museum. Other approaches may include laboratory microcosm studies, ultrastructural and confocal investigations, phylogenetics, bioinformatics and modelling.


Personal Research Keywords

Life cycle complexity, Colonial hosts, Endoparasites, Disease ecology, myxozoan evolution, bryozoan evolution