Meet the ToBo Lab


I don’t really fit neatly into a traditional field, but I tend to focus my research interests primarily on marine invertebrates. Much of my current research focuses on the processes that influence dispersal and recruitment in coastal marine invertebrates, and I am particularly interested in the evolutionary consequences of larval developmental modes among Hawaiian coral reef species. In general, I try to approach my research from an ecological perspective to scale up from genes to individuals to populations, and ultimately to the micro- and macro-evolutionary consequences of the processes being studied.

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My research program is designed to serve conservation goals by illuminating the evolutionary processes that generate biodiversity. In terrestrial systems, populations are usually defined by discontinuous fragments of habitat. These populations may eventually develop intrinsic reproductive barriers, the starting point for speciation. Hence habitat discontinuities may explain most cases of speciation on land, but what about speciation in the sea, where few such barriers exist? In the sea, the evolutionary rules may be different, or they may operate on a vastly different scale due to the connectivity of a trans-global aquatic medium.

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“To” - Rob Toonen

“Bo” - Brian Bowen

Graduate Students

Graduate students in the ToBo lab study a wide variety of marine organisms using new molecular tools to answer ecological and evolutionary questions.

Post Docs

Post-doctoral fellows come to the ToBo lab from around the world to study the unique and exciting flora and fauna of the Indo-Pacific.

Lab Alumni

Many people have been a part of ToBo history. Read about our former labmates, what they worked on during their time with us, and where they moved on to after their time with us in Hawaii.