• Title: Understanding Rules of Life (URoL) - Epigenetics 2: Predicting Phenotypic and Eco-evolutionary Consequences of Environmental-Energetic-Epigenetic Linkages
  • Principal Investigator: Jose Eirin-Lopez
  • Funding Amount: $3,000,000
  • Funding Source: National Science Foundation
  • Timeline: 09/01/19–08/31/24

Living organisms may acclimate to environmental changes through epigenetic modifications to DNA, which alter the way genetic instructions are interpreted without altering the DNA code itself. While these modifications to organismal phenotype or function can be reversible, some of them may be inherited by offspring, potentially producing multiple, heritable outcomes from a single genome and affecting ecological and evolutionary outcomes.

This project uses symbiotic, metabolically complex reef building corals as a model system to test the connections between physiological, epigenetic, and metabolic states, and predict how population and community dynamics are influenced by epigenetically-modulated phenotypes. This work will advance biological knowledge by delineating fundamental links (Rules of Life) between ubiquitous organismal energetic processes, epigenetics, and eco-evolutionary outcomes.

Learn more about the project or read about the URoL grant in this FIU News article.


  • 2020

    Rodríguez-Casariego JA, Mercado-Molina AE, Garcia-Souto D, Ortiz-Rivera IM, Lopes C, Baums IB, Sabat AM and Eirin-Lopez JM (2020) Genome-Wide DNA Methylation Analysis Reveals a Conserved Epigenetic Response to Seasonal Environmental Variation in the Staghorn Coral. Acropora cervicornis. Front. Mar. Sci. 7:560424. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.560424

  • 2019

    Victoria Suarez-Ulloa, Ciro Rivera-Casas, Michelot Michel, Jose M. Eirin-Lopez (2019) Seasonal DNA Methylation Variation in the Flat Tree Oyster Isognomon Alatus from a Mangrove Ecosystem in North Biscayne Bay, Florida. Journal of Shellfish Research, 38(1), 79-88. https://doi.org/10.2983/035.038.0108