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Screenshot 2019-08-29 14.38.57
Screenshot 2019-08-29 14.38.57

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About The Lab
My lab is fundamentally interested in the evolution of marine invertebrates with an emphasis on decapod crustaceans.  We use morphological and molecular techniques to address questions related to their relationships, origins, biogeography, biodiversity, ecology, taxonomy, and conservation.  My main research objectives include 1) decapod phylogenetics and genomics, 2) the evolution of systems and structures (ex. bioluminescence, vision, color), and 3) the identification of key morphological traits that promote diversification and speciation within this group. 

Heather Bracken-Grissom, PhD

Florida International University -

Biscayne Bay Campus

Assistant Director of the Coastlines and Oceans Division, Institute of Environment

Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences

North American Governor, The Crustacean Society



MSB 330


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Latest CRUSTOMICS Lab News:
Fall 2021
Charles Golightly has successfully defended his thesis "The Evolution of Bioluminescence in the Shrimp Family Sergestidae: a
Genome Skimming and Phylogenetic Approach" and received his Masters. Congrats Charles!
Fall 2021
Stormie Collins and Natalie Whitaker joined Fall 2021 as doctoral students. Stormie plans on working with bioluminescence in shrimp and Natalie plans on working with spider crab seascape genomics!
Harrison Mancke became the lab manager and received the NSF REPS fund! 
Fall 2021
Cancellus heatherae is a newly described species of hermit crab named after Dr. BG to honor her contributions to decapod phylogenetics. It was found over 300 feet down!

Check it out here!
Spring 2021
Dr. BG was part of the 2019 NOAA Journey into Midnight Expedition that found the first ever giant squid in US waters.

Check it out here!
Spring 2021
Spring 2021
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CRUSTOMICS Lab is crushing it!
Zach and Charles both passed their qualifying exams with flying colors! Congrats to both!
2021 has been a productive year so far.
Check out our newest publications here!
Spring 2021
Stormie was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to join the doctoral program in Fall 2021!
One of eleven students to be awarded at FIU. Read more here!
Spring 2021
Carlos receives the Dissertation Year Fellowship at FIU!
Way to go! 
Spring 2021
Stormie won FIRST PLACE for the poster session at the 2021 Biosymposium for graduate and prospective students! 
A big congratulations to Robb as he successfully defended his dissertation and accepted a postdoctoral research position at University of California, Davis! Good luck Dr. Ditter!
Fall 2020
Bracken-Grissom appointed as the Assistant Director of Coastlines and Oceans Division at FIU. Read more here!
Fall 2020
A BIG congratulations to Lori for accepting an Assistant Professorship position in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington!
Summer 2020
Spring 2020
HBG part of a research team to discover interactions between a pelagic shark and giant cephalopod! Read more here!
SQUID-iculously cool!
Spring 2020
Robert was awarded NSF GRFP!
CRUSTOMICS lab keeping up the good work!
Spring 2020
Good news train continues. Congrats to Robb on receiving the DYF fellowship!
Spring 2020
Lori has received an extension to her Distinguished Postdoc Fellowship at FIU to stay 1 more year!
Congrats to Dr. Jorge Perez Moreno for successfully defending his dissertation on the evolution and vision of cave crustaceans!
Spring 2020
Carlos and Robb rocked it at Biosymposium this year! Carlos killed his poster presentation and Robb was awarded with best talk! Way to go, guys!
Spring 2020
CRUSTOMICS lab at an outreach function with the Miami Heat and FIU! 
Spring 2020
Spring 2020
The Bracken-Grissom lab was well represented at Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology 2020! HBG, Danielle, Lori, and Lauren all gave sea-riously impressive presentations!
HBG and Lori set sail on the Journey into Midnight research mission during which the research team captured video of the elusive giant squid! Watch the video and read more here!
Fall 2019
The CRUSTOMICS lab and Harvard University awarded new NSF grant (DEB) to study Crab Tree of Life and how crabs became "crabby"!
Fall 2019
CRUSTOMICS lab welcomes undergraduate Stormie Collins as the new lab manager!
Fall 2019
The CRUSTOMICS Lab celebrates cataloguing its 10,000th crustacean specimen!  With records dating back nearly 75 years, this milestone accomplishment is one to remember!
Summer 2019
Spring 2019
The Bracken-Grissom Spring 2019 Potluck goes in the books as a crabtastic success!  Delicious food, beautiful weather, and clawfully good company!  It doesn't get any better than that.  
Work it, Robb!  You're really krillin it....
Spring 2018
The first PhD student, Laura Timm, graduates from the HBG lab and has accepted a post-doc in David Pollock's lab at UC Denver! 
Spring 2018
Postdoc, Danielle DeLeo, and PI HBG receive NSF grant to host the 3rd annual Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance in Curacao!  DeLeo also successful in helping obtain a shiptime grant to help co-teach Oceanography at Sea at FIU! 
Congrats to Jorge Perez Moreno for receiving NSF DDIG grant to study cave crustaceans!
Spring 2017

Check out our bioluminescence BLOG blog under the "more options" from this summers research cruise into the FL Straits as part of NSF funded research to study bioluminescence and vision

July 2016
Congrats to Jorge Perez Moreno for his new paper entitled: Life in the Underworld: Anchialine Cave Biology in the era of speleogenomics!  Check out our publications page to download
Summer 2016
February 2016
Congratulations to PhD candidate Laura Timm for being selected as a 2016 GOMRI Scholar AND winning 3rd place with her poster "Diversity and connectivity of a mesopelagic shrimp as proxies for ecosystem health and recovery in the Gulf of Mexico" at this year's FIU's Biosymposium!
August 2015
PI HBG received an NSF grant to study the evolution of deep sea bioluminescence and vision with Megan Porter (University of Hawaii) and Tammy Frank (NOVA). Looking forward to some exciting research!
Image credit  Sönke Johnsen.
August 2015
PhD Student Robb Ditter's research on enigmatic cave shrimp featured in Caribbean Correspondence.  Check it out!
PI BG and PhD student, Jorge Perez Moreno are setting sail on July 14th to search for new sources of deep sea bioluminescence in the Gulf of Mexico
Image credit  Bioluminescence 2009 Expedition, NOAA/OER.
July 2015
Learn more about our DEEPEND consortium here: