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Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Mercedes Burns (Ph. D. UMCP)







Graduate Students

Tyler Brown (B.S. UMCP) is studying sexual conflict and reproductive assurance and their roles in the maintenance of geographic parthenogenesis in Leiobunum manubriatum and L. globosum. Tyler is passionate about science communication and can be found at @NotASpider_ on Twitter.







Undergraduate Researchers

Marina Fahim (’21) is using flow cytometry to identify polyploid Japanese harvesters








Dante Washington (’22) is conducting a systematic review of research on reproduction of organisms in temperate and tropical biomes.

Lab Alumni

Dr. Sarah Stellwagen (M.S. Clemson, Ph.D. Virginia Tech) is currently working with Dr. Adam Reitzel at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.







Ryan Gunnison (’21, below) is fascinated by Hymenoptera and parasitism and is studying social behavior in harvesters












Fleurine Amouzou Guiffo (’20) studied early-developing harvester species Leiobunum flavum and L. ventricosum using morphological keys


Harper Montgomery (’20) studied population incidence of bacterial endosymbionts in North American harvesters



Zulekha Karachiwalla (’21) studied spermathecal morphology in Leiobunum using a variety of imaging and 3D modeling methods







Shea Walsh (’20) studied the effects of humidity on harvester clustering


Mayukha Pakala (’19; M.S. Applied Molecular Biology ’20) used 3RAD sequencing to reconstruct the phylogeny of the L. vittatum group.







Genevieve Ahearn (’19) studied geographic patterns of body size and fecundity in facultative parthenogens




Frederick Flanagan (MS ’18, Applied Molecular Biology)





Daniel DeWaters (BS ’18)