Phylogenetic and Biogeographic Analysis of Craneflies (Diptera: Tipulomorpha)
Members of the superfamily Tipuloidea, commonly called craneflies, are the largest group of Diptera, or flies. There are currently 18,000 species known. While this group is an important player in most ecosystems, serving as general decomposers, predators, or crop pests, little is known about the relationships between cranefly families or genera. My research is aimed at deconstructing the uncertainty of these relationships. A phylogenetic hypothesis for this group will facilitate further studies of cranefly evolution and will help answer questions about diversification in this group. For example, why are there so many cranefly species when most groups of flies only have a few thousand species? Furthermore, we are using molecular clock techniques to obtain a temporal perspective on cranefly evolution, dating the origin of the various families, genera and subgenera in this lineage.
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- Major: Molecular and Cell Biology: Developmental Genetics
- Mentor: Patrick O'Grady