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Student Research: Barnacles offer genetic clues on how organisms adapt to changing environments

March 17, 2020

Graduate student Joaquin Nunez conducts fieldwork in the rocky shores of Herdla in Vestland, Norway. Photo courtesy of The Rand Lab.

What genes help organisms survive in changing environments? As climate change impacts species across the planet, it’s a big question in basic biology. New research by a Brown research time, including doctoral student Joaquin Nunez, on barnacles may provide some answers. Barnacles are crustaceans, related to shrimps and crabs. After a brief period when they float freely around the ocean, barnacle larvae attach to a hard surface — a rock, a boat, a whale — and develop into adults. They build hard plates surrounding their bodies, which they can open to feed and to reproduce, and close protectively during low tide and other harsh conditions. Read more.