Curriculum Vitae (short version)
- Universidad de Sevilla (Spain), Ph.D., 2007
- Universidad de Sevilla (Spain), B.S., 1999
Dr. Rodriguez is a systematist with a fundamental interest in understanding morphological diversity, systematics, evolutionary history, and ecology of sea anemones (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Actiniaria). Sea anemones are among the most diverse and successful members of the anthozoan subclass Hexacorallia, being found in all marine benthic habitats at all depths and latitudes. Despite their morphological simplicity as tissue level organisms, sea anemones are an ancient lineage whose members have remarkably diverse life history strategies, including all reproductive strategies. Sea anemones play an important role in benthic-pelagic coupling as part of the benthic suspension feeding community, transferring energy to the benthos from the water column and releasing metabolites, gametes, and offspring into the water column. Their ecological success is undoubtedly facilitated by their propensity for engaging in symbiotic relationships with other animals, including hermit crabs, mollusks, and clown fish. From the perspective of phylogenetic systematics and evolutionary biology, their long evolutionary history and remarkable diversity poses problems of broader theoretical or methodological consequence. Dr. Rodriguez’s research on sea anemones combines monographic systematics with phylogenetics and empirical studies of biogeography, reproduction, and ecology.
Dr. Rodriguez is interested in addressing questions such as convergence of morphological characters, phylogenetic value of traditionally used taxonomic characters, and relationship between high levels of intraspecific morphological variability and reproductive strategies. Much of her research has focused on groups diverse in polar and deep-sea habitats, but sea anemones are ubiquitous in the marine environment. Highlights of her research program are collaborative relationships derived from work in extreme environments, such as Antarctica and chemosynthetic vents and seeps, a strong emphasis on fieldwork and in specimen collection, and the multidisciplinary approach of her research.