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Jill Oberski


At the Queensland Museum in 2015 with a gorgeous display of Coleoptera, part of a historic series by the Australian banker-turned-entomologist Frederick Parkhurst Dodd.






A Dorymyrmex bureni worker, (c) Alex Wild

As long I can remember, I’ve been enchanted by insects and arachnids of all forms– and that lifetime love of little arthropods has led me to the Ward lab, where I’m currently a second-year Ph.D. student.

I’m exploring Dorymyrmexa taxonomically chaotic genus of 60 described species recognizable by the pointed tooth on their propodeum (the posterior end of the mesosoma). These ants display an interesting “amphitropical” distribution in arid and semi-arid habitats across the Americas, meaning the bulk of their diversity occurs outside the tropics. Some members show temporary social parasitism, and others have been observed antagonistically throwing small stones down the nest entrances of neighboring ants to discourage foraging activity.

My research here utilizes next-generation sequencing methods (targeting ultra-conserved elements, UCEs) and integrates morphological characters to infer relationships within Dorymyrmex and reconstruct their biogeographic history.

I hope to contribute to a better understanding of our planet’s immense biodiversity, and how evolutionary dynamics and long-term climate shifts transform the Earth and its fauna over time.

Email:  jtoberski_(at)
CV (PDF): Download
ResearchGate: Visit

Last updated June 2019

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