Department of Biological Sciences


Molette Biology Laboratory for Environmental and Climate Change Studies

Members of the Molette Lab - 2012

William Page Molette, Electrical Engineering ’27, was a brilliant scientist who had a successful career with the General Electric Corporation. He and his wife, Ruth, as a result of his interest in scientific research, bequeathed their entire estate to Auburn University. Per William Molette’s wishes, the estate was designated for non-endowed scientific research in Auburn University's College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM).

A portion of the $2.7 million estate gift was dedicated by COSAM to the establishment of the Molette Biology Laboratory for Environmental and Climate Change Studies. This dedicated lab space enables COSAM students and faculty to continue to respond to natural disasters, which are more likely due to ongoing climate change. The Molette Lab also positions COSAM as a leader in global climate change research and the ensuing effects on our environment.

Biological Sciences Professor Kenneth M. Halanych and Associate Professor Scott R. Santos are the core faculty of the Molette Lab.

Kenneth M. Halanych (far left):

Professor Kenneth M. Halanych is an Alumni Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. He is internationally known for his research in molecular systematics, phylogeography and evolution of marine invertebrates. He further established himself as a leading expert on marine ecosystems through his ongoing research into the response of organisms to the oil and dispersants left in the Gulf of Mexico after the explosion of the Deep Horizon oil-drilling platform. To date, he has authored close to 80 articles in publications such as ScienceEvolution and DevelopmentAnnual Reviews of Ecology and Systematics, and Systematic Biology.

Scott R. Santos (far right):

Biological Sciences Associate Professor Scott R. Santos conducts research related to population genetics, resource conservation, genomic evolution and symbiosis biology in aquatic (both freshwater and marine) microbes and multi-cellular organisms, with a variety of molecular tools and computational approaches being utilized in these pursuits. He has authored over 40 peer-reviewed publications since 2001 in journals such as The Biological BulletinMarine BiologyJournal of PhycologyEnvironmental MicrobiologyCurrent BiologyMarine Ecology Progress SeriesAnimal ConservationPLoS OneMolecular Ecology and the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences USA.