Welcome to the Blaimer lab! We study the evolution of ants, bees and wasps.
We are interested in addressing contemporary questions and issues in evolutionary biology, community ecology, biogeography and systematics with (phylo)genomic and specimen-based methods. Our expertise and taxon-focus is mainly in ants and other Hymenoptera, but we are enthusiastic about insect diversity in general, especially within our field sampling program. Geographically, our attention is divided between native North Carolina habitats, and understudied tropical habitats in Madagascar and mainland Africa. We are also especially interested in further developing methods to assess insect communities in the canopy. Our current research program consists of three main aspects.
- Our research is driven by the curiosity to understand the historical and contemporary evolutionary processes and patterns that have shaped insect diversity and distributions. For example, we currently investigate the evolution of ant community structure and biogeography in Madagascar, by testing hypotheses about the distribution of ant diversity within a phylogenomic framework and thereby inferring the role of potential drivers of community assembly.
- Systematics and taxonomy are the foundation to investigate the biodiversity of life. Our research strives to advance insect systematics through integrative approaches that use state-of-the-art molecular genomic, morphological and ecological data. 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.
- We actively extend knowledge of insect distributions through field surveys. Our efforts focus especially on understudied habitats such as the canopy, and we maintain a collection-based research program at the NCSU Insect Collection.
Interested in joining the lab? Contact us.
- Aspiring graduate students with a strong interest in evolutionary biology and a love for insects should contact Dr. Blaimer to discuss current opportunities.
- Postdocs interested in joining the lab are always welcome to get in touch and discuss potential funding opportunities.
Watch Dr. Blaimer talk about arboreal ant ecology in Madagascar and harvest a Crematogaster carton nest in the canopy in this excerpt from BBC's Wonders of Life - Endless forms most beautiful.