Aaron D. Smith, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Arizona State University
Research Associate, Amaerican Museum of Natural History
Research interests: My research interests are broadly centered on questions relating to the biodiversity and systematics of beetles (Coleoptera); including revisionary taxonomy, biogeography, evolutionary ecology, speciation, and the integration of molecular and morphological data in phylogenetic studies. I am also part of a collaboration building the Coleoptera Anatomy Ontology to produce semantically enriched taxonomic descriptions using an explicit controlled vocabulary.
My primary taxonomic focus is on the species rich (~20,000 described spp.) family Tenebrionidae, also known as the darkling beetles. I am currently working on large scale revisions within the distantly related tribes Asidini and Amphidorini, both of which are flightless and widespread in western North America. In addition to their taxonomy and evolutionary history, I am examining the evolution of defensive mechanisms within and between the two tribes; these include crypsis (background matching), predator swamping, the production of noxious defensive compounds within Amphidorini (often with associated aposematic warning displays), and mimicry (both Müllerian and Batesian). Several asidine species have been implicated as Batesian mimics of chemically defended Eleodes (the largest genus of amphidorines) models, while many Eleodes species are thought to be involved in Müllerian mimicry complexes with co-occuring species of the same genus.
Quentin D. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment
School of Sustainability and School of Life Sciences
Senior Sustainability Scientist, Global Institute of Sustainability
Founding Director, International Institute for Species Exploration
Arizona State University, LSC-426, Tempe, Arizona 85287 USA
Nico M. Franz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Curator of Insects
School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University, PO Box 874501, Tempe, AZ, 85287-5401 USA
M. Andrew Johnston, Graduate Student
Andrew is a Ph.D. student in the Franz Lab studying Eleodes taxonomy and systematics.
Links: Andrew's research blog
Rebecca Dornburg, Laboratory Assistant II
Undergraduate in Biological Sciences (Ecology & Evolution) and Art (Sculpture)