Skip to main content

Our lab focuses on the phylogenetic systematics and evolution of insects. Our current research addresses the evolution the genes that support color vision (opsin) within dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) and beetles (Coleoptera). We are also examining the evolution of color vision in the context of visual color signals (e.g., female polychromatism and bioluminescence). Our techniques include phylogenetic reconstruction based on high-throughput data (e.g. RNA-seq, transcriptomics, and other NGS techniques), spectrometry, classical morphology, and cyber-taxonomy. Our analytical methods include comprehensive statistical analyses using novel Bayesian approaches and machine-learning techniques. A core element of our phylogenetic reconstruction methodologies is the incorporation of fossil data to address early-wing evolution in Odonata. Additionally, we are building expertise in the use of CT scanning for the study and classification of internal morphology. A strong emphasis of our lab is international fieldwork, museum research, and collaboration. We are also involved in biology science education and have several projects that center on pinpointing the major stumbling blocks that inhibit religious students from engaging in the theory of evolution. We place heavy importance on undergraduate research, funding, and training opportunities, and strive for the development of independent lines of research.