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Bonnie Blaimer

Assistant Professor

Systematics and Biodiversity

3204D Gardner Hall

919.515.2724

Research in the Blaimer lab focuses on addressing questions in insect evolutionary biology, community ecology, biogeography and systematics with genomic and morphological methods. Our primary research goals are 1) to advance understanding of the historical and contemporary evolutionary processes and patterns that have shaped insect diversity and distributions, 2) to improve insect systematics through integrative approaches that combine molecular, morphological and ecological data, and 3) to extend current knowledge of insect distribution data through field sampling and databasing of existing material at the NCSU Insect Museum. To address the above research goals, we mainly study ants and other groups of Hymenoptera, but target a wider scope of taxa for our field sampling program. Geographically, our attention is divided between 1) native North Carolina habitats, as well as 2) an international component focusing on understudied habitats in Africa and Madagascar. We are especially interested in further developing methods to assess insect communities in the canopy. Current research, for example, investigates the evolution of ant community structure and biogeography in Madagascar, by testing hypotheses about the distribution of ant diversity in Madagascar within a phylogenetic framework and inferring the role of potential drivers of community assembly. Other ongoing work includes several projects that focus on resolving higher-level and species-level systematics, as well as diversification and time-scale of evolution of several groups of Hymenoptera. Our current (phylo)genetic work is mainly based on target capture and next-generation sequencing of ultraconserved elements (UCEs), but we are open to exploring new techniques as appropriate to address specific research questions.