Alumni Professor & Coordinator, Marine Biology Program
Dr. Halanych is currently Alumni Professor of Biology at Auburn University. His research interests include evolutionary origins and relationships of major metazoan lineages, Antarctic phylogeography, molecular systematics and phylogenetic theory, marine invertebrate evolution, and diversification of hydrothermal vent and hydrocarbon seep fauna. His research efforts have resulted in over 80 peer-reviewed publications, with several receiving special honors and designations. Dr. Halanych has been invited numerous times to lecture by wide range of organizations, and his research results have been regularly presented at professional meetings.
The primary focus of the Halanych lab is researching the evolution of marine invertebrate animals. The lab is directed at understanding how such extensive morphological variation came about by exploring questions on different time scales and with different types of genomic information using molecular evolutionary approaches. The Halanych lab has four main ongoing projects: 1) WormNet 2: Assembling the Annelid Tree of Life; 2) Relevance of Planktonic Larval Dispersal to Endemism and Biogeography of Antarctic Benthic Invertebrates; 3) Genomic Approaches to Metazoan Evolution, and 4) Systematics and Evolution of Hemichordata. Additionally, he has participated in several oceanographic cruises including work in the Gulf of Mexico.
Since joining Auburn University 8 years ago, Dr. Halanych has also served as the Marine Biology Program Coordinator. Under his leadership the number of majors has increased from approximately 33 to a current high of 108 undergraduate majors. This position has included much student advisory work and service as a liaison with outside labs. As a teaching professor, Dr. Halanych has developed several courses and regularly teaches classes during each semester.
In 2008, Dr. Halanych also served as a Visiting Full Professor at University of Bergen, Norway and as Visiting Instructor at the University of Washington (in 2003, 2005, and 2008). Prior to joining Auburn University, he worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and was associated with the Marine Biological Laboratories. Dr. Halanych received his PhD in Zoology from the University of Texas in 1994.