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Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Mercedes Burns (B.A. Biology, Macalester College; Ph. D. Evolutionary Biology, UMCP) began her faculty appointment at UMBC in 2017.







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. He joined the UC Riverside Entomology department in 2020.



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. She currently works for USFWS.




Frederick Flanagan (MS ’18, Applied Molecular Biology) is in dental school at the UMSOD, where he received a 2021 Dean’s Scholarship for Leadership and Excellence.





Daniel DeWaters (BS ’18) studied harvester ploidy, and wrote handy code for GBS2Ploidy and COLONY (