Research in the lab aims to understand the mechanisms behind the rapid speciation processes that produce high species richness in specific areas. Combining classical taxonomy with an array of modern molecular techniques, our research focuses in three main, complementary lines: (i) understanding to what extent geological factors drive speciation using islands as models, (ii) characterizing the morphological variation associated with rapid diversifications, and (iii) applying DNA metabarcoding and high-throughput sequencing to study the diversity of plants used by solitary bees.
April- Pam was awarded the Pickens-Queen Teaching Award! Maddy passed the final exam for her MA degree on 4/8; congratulations Maddy! Rebecca, Zach, and Maddy presented their research at the College of Science Research Expo on 4/8 and the three were selected to represent the Biology Dept. at the Marshall's Research and Creativity Symposium on 4/19 and 4/20.
March - Abagail, Rachael, and Pam presented at the Association of Southeastern Biologists Annual Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas!
February - Abagail, Rachael, and Rebecca were selected to present posters at the Undergraduate Research Day at the WV Capitol. Congratulations!
January - Pam presented a talk at the WV Entomological Society Winter Meeting about ongoing research on long-horned bees.
November - Pam was invited to WVU to give a talk about her research on islands. She also presented some preliminary data on the plants used by long-horned bees.
September - Rachael, Abagail, and Payton have returned to the lab this Fall as Creative Discovery Awardees! Rachael is looking into the pollen collected by two species of long-horned bees. Abagail is working with yellow-masked bees, and Payton is looking into the leaves used by alfalfa leaf-cutter bees for nest construction.
August - Rebecca presented a poster on her research on Bipolaris spp. infection of invasive Japanese stiltgrass at the Invasion Genomics Conference in Lafayette, Louisiana. This research was the result of Rebecca's summer CREU funded by the NSF grant Consortium for Plant Invasion Genomics.
July - Pam gave a talk at the Botany 2021 conference about the partnership between the Marshall University Herbarium and the Special Collections Department at MU. This talk was part of a Symposium organized by the Society of Herbarium Curators.
June - Three of our undergraduate researchers were awarded the Creative Discovery and Research Award for Fall 2021! Congratulations to Abagail, Rachael, and Payton, well done!
April - Zach was awarded the NASA WVSGC Graduate Research Fellowship to fund his graduate research on the phylogenetics diversity of the Rosids clade in West Virginia. Congratulations Zach!
Plants used by solitary bees
We are looking into the diversity of plant species used by a couple of solitary bees: the alfalfa leafcutter bee (Megachile rotundata) and long-horned bees (Melissodes trinodis and M. agilis).
Micromeria (Lamiaceae) in the Canary Islands
This project tries to understand the influence of the islands' geological history and inter-island colonization on the diversification of insular taxa using genus Micromeria (Lamiaceae) in the Canary Islands as an example.
Taxonomy of Calceolaria (Calceolariaceae)
Calceolaria is a diverse genus with ca. 250 species distributed from Central Mexico to Chile and Southern Argentina...