Active Biodiversity Postdoctoral Fellows

photo of Diego VazDiego Biston Vaz

Project Title: Taxonomic review of dwarfgobies, Eviota Jenkins, 1903, one of the most diverse genus of marine fishes
Faculty Sponsor: George Lauder

Diego is applying morphology in conjunction to molecular data to clarify the taxonomy of dwarfgobies, the genus Eviota, one of the most speciose groups of marine fishes.


Sonali Garg

Project Title: Integrative approaches to unravel frog diversity in India
Faculty Sponsor: James Hanken


photo of Cong LiuCong Liu

Project Title: Ant biodiversity in China's Hengduan Mountain region
Faculty Sponsor: Naomi Pierce

Cong is an ecologist and evolutionary biologist interested in the biodiversity and diversification of ants on different spatial and temporal scales. His aim is to explore and document nature in order to increase our understanding of the underlying eco-evolutionary processes that have shaped our planet’s biodiversity. His research broadly encompasses systematics, taxonomy, community ecology, phylogenomics, and population genomics, as well as faunistic surveys of ants.


Shinichi Nakahara

Project Title: Documenting and explaining the high diversity of Euptychiina, a lineage of cryptic Amazonian butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)
Faculty Sponsor: Naomi Pierce


Paula Rodríguez Flores

Project Title: Systematic revision of worldwide deep sea squat lobsters
Faculty Sponsor: Gonzalo Giribet

Paula is interested in the biogeography and evolution of squat lobsters, a colorful and very diverse group of marine crustaceans. During her PhD she described dozens of new species from all around the World combining morphological and molecular data. Her major research goal is to determine squat lobster patterns and processes of diversification in time and space. At the MCZ she is revising the systematics of deep-sea squat lobsters using different sources of data (morphology, genetics and fossil record), and solving puzzles of species complexes vs. cosmopolitan species from the enigmatic deep-sea. Describing real diversity of the group would lead to a better understanding about deep-sea speciation-connectivity and evolution of these fabulous animals


Past Biodiversity Postdoctoral Fellows

photo of Miquéias FerrãoMiquéias Ferrão

Project Title: Description of new species of anurans from Brazilian Amazonia through integrative taxonomy
Faculty Sponsor: James Hanken

Miquéias is a biologist interested in taxonomy, systematics and ecology of Amazonian anurans and reptiles. Currently, most of his research focuses on using integrative taxonomy to identify, delimit and describe new species of frogs from threatened environments in Brazilian Amazonia, as well as redescribe taxonomically problematic species. He has described new treefrogs and toads of AllobatesAmazophrynellaAtelopusRhinella and Scinax. In addition to these genera, new species of AdenomeraOsteocephalus and Pristimantis are also being described by him.

image of Stephen PatesStephen Pates

Project Title: Beyond the Burgess Shale and Chengjiang: Systematics, phylogeny and evolution of Radiodonta (stem-group Euarthropoda) from untapped Cambrian Lagerstätten
Faculty Sponsor: Javier Ortega-Hernández

Stephen's research focusses on understanding the role of predation as an evolutionary driver of innovation in both predators and prey during the early Paleozoic. He explores the diversity, geographic spread, temporal distribution, and feeding methods of the radiodonts, a group that includes some of the largest known nektonic Cambrian predators (e.g. Anomalocaris). He studies trilobites as a prey animal, using quantitative methods to compare differences in their injury frequency, and assess potential antipredatory features

Whitney Preisser

Project Title: Revealing the hidden diversity of digenean trematodes within the MCZ Ichthyology Collection
Faculty Sponsor: Gonzalo Giribet and George Lauder

Whitney is a parasite ecologist, who's major research goal is to describe parasite biodiversity. Her previous work investigated spatial and temporal diversity patterns of parasites in vertebrate hosts. As a fellow at the MCZ, she will be diving into the ichthyology collections and characterizing the parasite communities of five benthic and deep sea fish species and describing trematode species new to science. 

photo of Tiago Rodrigues SimõesTiago Simões

Project Title: The long-term impact of a climate change-driven mass extinction on global biodiversity and evolutionary patterns in reptiles
Faculty Sponsor: Stephanie Pierce

Tiago's research interests include combining data from living and extinct species, as well as morphological and molecular data, to investigate deep time problems in reptile evolution. In recent years, he has revised previous phylogenetic and biogeographic hypotheses into the early evolution of lizards in South America and used high resolution micro computed-tomography scans of modern lizards to assess the adaptive role of the temporal region of the lizard skull. Recently, he has provided the largest dataset ever assembled to assess broad-scale reptile relationships, finding the first ever agreement between morphological and molecular hypotheses on the early evolution of lizards. Further, he demonstrated that the major reptile lineages first evolved prior to the greatest mass extinction in the history of complex life— the Permian Triassic Mass extinction. Currently, Tiago is investigating the impact of the Permian Triassic Mass extinction on long-term evolutionary patterns in reptiles.