We work to discover, describe, and understand the diversity of invertebrate animal life. Our main focus is documenting new species of arachnids from the beautiful forests of New Zealand (above) and testing hypotheses about their evolutionary history. We recently wrapped up several years of work in the Australian Wet Tropics; you can read about our adventures Down Under here, here, and here. We also work on the ecology and evolution of local Minnesota daddy long-legs and freshwater mussels. Our research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, and the National Park Service. Check us out on Instagram at #boyerlabmacalester!
News from the Boyer Lab
- Big congratulations to Pietro Tardelli Canedo on passing his senior honors thesis defense! Pietro has done beautiful work on phylogeography and male polymorphism in a widespread New Zealand mite harvestman, part of ongoing work funded by our current National Science Foundation grant. After graduation, he is headed to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to work in their core molecular biology and imaging center.
- We have a new paper out on mating behavior in daddy long-legs! Students Raine Ikagawa, Penny Kahn, and Eva Larsen (all Macalester class of '17) worked with our collaborator Kasey Fowler-Finn to expand our knowledge of basic reproductive biology in these familiar but under-studied animals. Videotaping harvestmen mating was a lot of fun - the jokes wrote themselves every day.
- In February I attended the International Congress of Arachnology in Christchurch, New Zealand; it was great to see long-time colleagues and meet new people in a beautiful part of the world. I gave a talk on a study carried out in collaboration with Mercedes Burns (Macalester '06), honors student Penny Kahn '17, and Macalester chemist Dennis Cao on convergent evolution of nuptial gift chemistry associated with convergence in genital morphology in leiobunine harvestmen, commonly known as daddy long-legs. (This work was recently published in Ecology and Evolution.) Also, I was very proud to see Boyer Lab alum Caitlin Baker '12 (currently a PhD student in the Giribet Lab at Harvard) take home the top prize for student talks in systematics, evolution, and biogeography!
- We spent two wonderful weeks doing fieldwork in New Zealand this January! Current students Eliza Pessereau '19, Pietro Tardelli Canedo '19, and Rina Morisawa '20 joined forces with alum Caitlin Baker '12 (currently a PhD student in the Giribet Lab at Harvard) to collect harvestmen all over the incredible forests of the South Island.
- Pietro Tardelli Canedo '19 and I traveled to the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology in May to meet with our collaborators on our new NSF-supported project about biogeography of New Zealand Opiliones. In the slideshow above you will see Pietro and me hanging out with Gonzalo Giribet and Caitlin Baker '12, a Boyer Lab alum who is currently a PhD student in the Giribet Lab.