Erin E. Easton is an Assistant Professor in the School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), with a focus on the ecology and evolution of benthic fauna (i.e., those organisms that live in, on, or in association with the seafloor) on soft- and hard-bottom habitats.  She has a BS in Biology from Indiana University and a MS and PhD in Oceanography from Florida State University. She was a postdoctoral researcher for the Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands at the Universidad Católica del Norte and at UTRGV.

Erin’s Benthic Ecology and Evolution Lab at UTRGV explores the biodiversity and evolutionary history of benthic fauna from the coast to the deep sea, with a focus on meiofaunal communities and octocorals and black corals on seamounts and oceanic islands.  She has a particular interest in octocoral systematics, mesophotic coral ecosystems, and exploration of unexplored marine ecosystems. To study these communities, she uses a variety of tools to conduct biodiversity surveys, to explore biogeographic and connectivity patterns, and to understand the phylogenetic and evolutionary relationships of select taxa. Her aim is to provide the essential scientific basis to inform conservation and natural resource management decisions.