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About The Lab
The CRUSTOMICS 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, MSB 361 (office) /330 (lab)


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

Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences

North American Governor, The Crustacean Society, 305-919-4190, 305-919-5838

Follow @BrackenGrissom on Twitter
for the latest lab updates!
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The CRUSTOMICS Lab participated in the first annual King of the Bay competition! 

Spring 2023
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Dr. Alexander Vereshchaka name a new Acanthephyra shrimp species, Acanthephyra heatherii, after our very own Dr. Heather Bracken-Grissom. That marks the second species to be named after her!
Fall 2022
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Dr. Heather Bracken-Grissom has been awarded a $1.35 million from the National Science Foundation to study Alvinocaridid deep sea vent shrimp. More news on this project to come in 2023!
Fall 2022

Congrats to Dr. Pedro Peres for receiving Best Oral Presentation in the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology's Division of Phylogenetics and Comparative Biology (SICB DPCB) Wake Award Session!

Spring 2022
Carlos Valera has successfully defended his dissertation "DNA BARCODING ENHANCES LARGE-SCALE BIODIVERSITY INITIATIVES FOR DEEP-PELAGIC CRUSTACEANS WITHIN THE GULF OF MEXICO AND ADJACENT WATERS" and successfully obtained his doctorate. Congrats Dr. Valera!
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!
Fall 2021
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. HBG 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
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!
Bracken-Grissom appointed as the Assistant Director of Coastlines and Oceans Division at FIU. Read more here!
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
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!
Robert was awarded NSF GRFP!
CRUSTOMICS lab keeping up the good work!
Spring 2020
Congrats to Dr. Jorge Perez Moreno for successfully defending his dissertation on the evolution and vision of cave crustaceans!
Spring 2020
Learn more about our DEEPEND consortium here:
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