Nathan is an insect systematist specializing in the order Coleoptera. He is broadly interested in alpha- and beta- level taxonomy, reconstructing phylogenies utilizing both morphological and molecular data, exploring interesting evolutionary scenarios within Coleoptera, and enhancing systematics products through interactive, digital tools (e.g. Lucid keys) and high-resolution imaging.
My research program centers around investigating the evolution of visual systems across the charismatic Jewel Beetles (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) in an effort to decipher the form and function of the often brilliant color schemes found throughout the group. We are using NGS methods to construct phylogenies and generate transcriptomes of tissues involved in vision in order to investigate opsin diversity, with future avenues branching into physiology (ERG, in-situ hybridization). Additionally, we have received funding to develop an interactive tool for the identification of the worldwide genera of Jewel Beetles.
He joined Dr. Bybee’s lab in August, 2013.