Benthic Ecology and Evolution Lab

Easton Lab at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Dr. Erin E. Easton (left) and colleague Dr. Ariadna Mecho (right) picking benthic fauna off a rock recovered by Agassiz trawl.


Dr. Easton’s Benthic Ecology and Evolution Lab at UTRGV explores the biodiversity and evolution of marine benthos from the coast to the deep sea. Benthos are fauna that live in, on, or in association with the seafloor. More information here.

Image of the Americas indicating the recent and current study regions, which include (A) continental slope off the US West Coast and coastal, mesophotic, and deep habitats of the (B) Gulf of Mexico, (C) seamounts and oceanic islands of the Easter Island Ecoregion and Salas y 
Gómez Ridge, and (D) seamounts and oceanic islands of the Juan Fernandez and Desventuradas Ecoregion(s).


Research in the Easton Benthic Ecology and Evolution Lab at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley focuses on the study of epibenthic megafauna on hard-bottom habitats and meiofauna of soft-bottom habitats. To study these benthic communities, we use a variety of tools to conduct biodiversity surveys, to explore biogeographic and community assemblage patterns, to identify potential drivers of these patterns, and to understand the phylogenetic and evolutionary relationships of select taxa. Of particular interest are the benthic communities of mesophotic and deep-sea habitats in the South Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. More information on current research project is available here.


Seeking master’s and undergraduate students to join the lab. Checkout Research to review current and planned research projects. If you are interested in joining the lab, email Dr. Easton your CV and statement of research interest.

Image of students participating in an intensive course co-taught by Dr. Easton.


Dr. Easton is currently developing courses to add to the undergraduate and graduate curriculum in the School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. See here for information courses offered.

Image of new species, Chromis mamatapara, described in Shepherd et al. 2020. The image shows these damselfish swimming near the seafloor over algal encrusted rocks and ship corals at Rapa Nui (Easter Island).


Five most recent

Full list and CV


Dr. Erin E. Easton

Office: Port Isabel Campus PPOB2 1.400A

Office Hours: by appointment

Lab: Port Isabel Campus PPOB2 1.400/1.401


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