We study the diversity and evolution of arthropods. Particularly, we are interested in reconstructing the tree of life and understanding the ancient and on-going associations between humans and the arthropod species in our everyday lives. Whether learning about the mites on your face, the bugs in your house, or discovering new fly species, we look to engage the public in the process of doing science and in the thrill of discovery.

Lab News

We sampled all the living and dead arthropods inside 50 houses. Our analyses looked for patterns or associations with arthropod diversity or community composition and house features or resident behavior. This is what we found.
Supermatrix phylogeny of early brachyceran fly families. Biggest surprise- the parasitic families Nemestrinidae and Acroceridae are sister groups. Also, even 1000+ taxa and a patchy matrix can’t necessarily solve an ancient, rapid radiation like this one.
  • 11/1/17 Cal Academy scientists, including fly expert,  Keith Bayless (@Keithing, research associate with the Trautwein lab) just got back from a biodiversity survey on Penang Hill @TheHabitatPH, Malaysia. Hundreds of species were documented in hopes of designating the rainforest as a UNESCO Biodiversity site.
  • Look for us on NOVA next spring! Our face mite sampling team- postdoc Misha Leong, intern Michael Bennett, research volunteer Doris Won, postdoc Matt Van Dam, and my boss Shannon Bennett scraped faces for hours to find just one glorious mite in one lucky man’s ear wax. What a day.
  • Soon, our research on the diversity of arthropods living in houses will be featured on the CBC show The Nature of Things. Last August, we spent a week filming our team sample bugs in a house in Toronto, and ate poutine in our down time. It was a ton of fun.
From left to right- The M’s. Morgan Jackson @bioinfocus, Matt Bertone @bertonemyia, Misha Leong @mishoptera and Michelle Trautwein. Missing is the last M- Maydianne Andrade who joined us for the expedition. Lurking behind us is the great director Roberto Verdecchia.
  • Postdoc Dr. Misha Leong published a new paper reporting that more types of arthropods are found inside houses in wealthy neighborhoods. Wait….wha?! Read all about it or just read it.
  • matt_simon_againMatt Simon from Wired Magazine and author of The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar talks weirdest animals of 2016. Luck for us, two of them are insects.




More from the Trautwein lab….2015_review_in_pictures

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