Department of Geology College of Arts and Sciences Ecology and Evolution Research Group
Ecology and Evolution Faculty

Name Dr. Howard R. Lasker
Director, Graduate Program in Evolution, Ecology and Behavior

443 Hochstetter Hall
email - website - personal website

PhD, Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago - 1978

Specialties and Interests: Populaiton ecology of coral reef organisms

Courses Offered

GLY 309 - Ecology
GLY 409 - Advanced Ecology
GLY 411 - Marine Ecology
GLY 412 - Field Course in Tropical Marine Ecology
GLY 555 - Colloquium in Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
GLY 499 - Independent Study
GLY 599 - Supervised Teaching
GLY 633 - Graduate Research
GLY 700 - Thesis Guidance

Research Interests

I am interested in the ecology of coral reef organisms particularly the population ecology of octocorals (soft corals and gorgonians). I and my students have conducted studies ranging from the feeding ecology of butterfly fish to the evolution and systematics of corals, and we use techniques that range from scuba based observations to DNA sequencing. Much of my current reseach employs a combination of field experiments and molecular studies to examine the reproduction and recruitment of octocorals on Caribbean reefs.

Current Students


Former Students

Recent Publications

Lasker, H.R. and M.A. Coffroth. 1999. Responses of clonal reef taxa to environmental change. American Zoologist 39:92-103.

Beiring, E.A. and H.R. Lasker. Egg production by colonies of a gorgonian coral. Marine Ecology Progress Series 196:169-177

Boller, M. L., Swain, T. D. and H.R. Lasker. 2002. Skeletal morphology and material properties of a fragmenting gorgonian coral. Marine Ecology Progress Series 228:131-141.

Lasker H.R. and Sanchez J.A. 2002. Astogeny and allometry of modular colonial organisms. In: R.N. Hughes (ed.), Progress in Asexual Propagation and Reproductive Strategies . John Wiley, Oxford pp 208-253

Sanchez, J.A., Lasker, H.R. and D.J. Taylor. 2003 . Phylogenetic analyses among Octocorals ( Cnidaria ) according to mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences (lsu-rRNA, 16S and ssu-RNA, 18S) support two convergent clades of branching goronians. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 29:31-42

Castanaro, J. and H.R. Lasker. 2003. Effects of clipping on growth of colonies of the Caribbean gorgonian Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae . Invertebrate Biology 122:209-307.

Lasker, H.R., Boller, M.A., Castanaro, J., and J.A. S·nchez. 2003. Determinate growth and modularity in a gorgonian octocoral. Biological Bulletin 205: 319-330

Sanchez, J.A. and H.R. Lasker. 2003 Patterns of morphologic integration in branching colonies of marine modular organisms: Interspecific comparative analysis in gorgonian corals. Proc. R. Soc. Lond . B 270:2039-2044

Gutierrez-Rodriguez, C. and H.R. Lasker. 2004. Reproductive biology of the Caribbean gorgonian Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae . Invertebrate Biology 123:53-66

Sanchez, J.A., Lasker, H.R., Neopmuceno, E.G. and M.A. Woldenberg. 2004. Branching and self-organization in marine modular colonial organisms: a model. American Naturalist 163:E24-E39

GutiÈrrez-RodrÌguez, C. and H.R. Lasker. 2004. Microsatellite variation reveals high levels of genetic variability and population structure in the gorgonian coral Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae across the Bahamas. Molecular Ecology 13:2211-2221

Kim, E.A.B., Lasker, H.R., Coffroth, M.A., and K. Kim. 2004. Morphological and genetic variation across reef habitats in a broadcast-spawning octocoral. Hydrobiologia 530:423-432

Lasker, H.R. 2005. Gorgonian Mortality During a Thermal Event in the Bahamas. Bull. Marine Science 76:155-16

Lasker, H.R. High fertilization success in a surface brooding gorgonian. submitted

web design for higher education