Dr. Erin E. Easton is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). She has a BS in Biology from Indiana University and a MS and PhD in Oceanography from Florida State University. Dr. Easton’s Benthic Ecology and Evolution Lab at UTRGV explores the biodiversity and evolution of marine organisms that live in or on the seafloor from the coast to the deep sea. To study these communities, she uses a variety of tools to conduct biodiversity surveys, to explore biogeographic and connectivity patterns, and to understand the phylogenetic and evolutionary relationships of select taxa. Of particular interest are the deep coral communities of the South Pacific and Gulf of Mexico, which will be the focus of her presentation.