I am non-tenured faculty and an assistant scientist in the Kawahara Lab studying insect evolution, behavior, and genomics at the University of Florida and the Florida Museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity.
While my current research is primarily focused on insects, I am often inspired by new questions, systems, and molecular methods. This has led me to study diverse taxa such as salmon, pipefish, plants, and butterflies on individual, population, species, and community scales. Check out my projects and publications to see what I am currently working on.
PhD in Forest Resources and Conservation, 2017
University of Florida
MS in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, 2009
University of Washington
BS in Marine Science, 2005
Please see my CV for a full list of publications and manuscripts.
Additional & ongoing projects include: high-throughput sequencing of arthropod communities from bat poop and using environmental DNA to survey population structure in rare or threatened species.
We are producing a complete species-level butterfly phylogeny, the first of any major insect clade, that will let us organize the approximately 18,800 butterfly species according to their evolutionary relationships. The resulting tree can then be integrated with data on geographic distributions, host plant associations, and other life history traits, collected and compiled from digitized field guides and online resources.
This a new project where we are using gene editing to screen for shared function and origins of silk protein coding genes in moths and butterflies.
What is a species in clonal or inbreeding systems? I studied the global correlation between morphological species identity, geography, and genomic population structure in a complex of tiny beetles. These insect pests are highly inbred, globally distributed, and morphologically cryptic, which has hampered the development of a usable and justifiable definition of species.
Please see my CV for past teaching and education experience.
I am a teaching instructor for the following courses at University of Florida:
FOR6934: Molecular Forest Entomology (3 credits), http://tinyurl.com/MolForEnt
Data Managent Seminar, offered Fall 2019, stay tunned for details
Currently, I lead the following educational outreach activities:
Florida Museum Junior Volunteers Summer Program - “Extract your own DNA”
Florida Museum ButterflyFest - “Butterfly Collections: An Introduction and Digitization”