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Zachary Griebenow


Looking over Nearctic Coleoptera at the Triplehorn Insect Collection

I am a second-year PhD student in the Ward laboratory. While the Formicidae are fascinating in many respects, their systematics has always been my area of interest within myrmecology. This is because I have always intuitively subscribed to the idea that the beginning of wisdom (in this case, understanding ants) is calling things by their proper name.

To that end, I am undertaking a systematic revision of the obscure subfamily Leptanillinae, with phylogeny inferred jointly from male morphology and phylogenomic data. My examination of male leptanilline morphology particularly emphasizes their genitalia, which I suspect display critical phylogenetic signal. In hopes of better understanding the great variety of structural modifications to male leptanilline genitalia, I am collaborating with the Evan Economo laboratory at the Okinawa Institute of Science & Technology in obtaining micro-computed tomography scans of these structures.

Once morphological data have been acquired from males across a comprehensive sampling of the Leptanillinae, I will acquire genome-scale data using ultra-conserved elements from across this clade and infer their phylogeny from these data using model-based techniques (ML and Bayesian inference). With male morphology then contextualized in a phylogenetic framework, I will revise leptanilline taxonomy based primarily upon male morphology.


Curriculum vitae (PDF): Zach Griebenow – academic C.V., June 2019

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