At the heart of the Patek Lab is the exploration of organismal biological systems, making discoveries and uncovering new concepts and ideas about our planet.  As scientific explorers, educators, and agents for social change, we reach for new understanding of the life surrounding us, whether on land or in the ocean, and then place it in the broader evolutionary history that reaches back the hundreds of millions of years that our focal organisms have lived on the planet.  Why does this matter?  Knowledge of our biological world enhances the quality of our lives by bringing new ideas, understanding, and inspiration from the organisms around us.  The essence of being human is to experience the pleasure of knowledge, new perspectives, surprises, and a deeper view into history and life.  Thus, we strive to build bridges among disciplines to promote new discoveries and to explain our research in a way that both informs other scientists in our fields and, of equal importance, the general public.  At every juncture in research, teaching, and service, we work toward structural change to achieve equity, access, and transparency in academic research and education.