Starko, Samuel

 
Patrick Martone
Vancouver
Canada
 

Research Topic

Phylogenomics and evolutionary ecology of kelps

Research Description

Brown algae are the largest and most productive group of marine "plants" and form complex underwater forests that are home to many important fish and invertebrates. I study the ecology and growth patterns of habitat-forming brown algae (kelps) in an evolutionary context. I am using a phylogenomic approach to determine evolutionary relationships between species and am using phylogenetic comparative methods to ask questions about the evolution of growth strategies and important ecological traits.

What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

I look forward to the botany exit seminar, at which time I will have the opportunity to present the entire body of research included in my thesis.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC is a world-class institution and one of the most active in the field of evolutionary biology.

 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I have always been curious about how life "works," and the more I learn, the more I realize how little we know about some topics. I like the idea of being the first person to arrive at an answer to some of these questions.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

No one knows exactly what they are doing at first, and there can be a lot of trial and error. If you feel lost, you are not alone, just keep on with your curiosity and you will find your niche (no pun intended).