- 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.