HMC Expert: Catherine McFadden

Biology, Coral, Marine biology

Catherine McFadden, PhD, is working with a national team of research scientists to investigate the origins of the phylum Cnidaria—one of the two most primitive groups on earth—which includes jellyfish, hydra, sea anemones and corals, McFadden’s specialty.

Her particular area of expertise is octocoral phylogeny, and she has been using molecular data to try and understand the evolutionary relationships and species boundaries among groups of soft corals from the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the tropical Indo-West Pacific. Current and former HMC undergraduates have worked on these projects and are co-authors on several publications that have resulted. McFadden visited Bocas del Toro Research Station in Panama in 2006 to help scientists distinguish different species of octocorals.

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Judy Augsburger

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