My research interests are related with the study of the historical processes that create biodiversity, particularly in conditions of isolation. My main study group are the spiders and other invertebrates from the Pacific Rim and its islands, with special attention to volcanic archipelagos and the Gondwanic landmasses. I combine field and museum work with phylogenetics, population genetics and genomics. Due to my research on understudied taxa and remote locations, I am also interested in biodiversity discovery: species inventories, species descriptions and natural history observations.
I study the patterns and processes of evolution in scorpions and their fascinating venoms, spiders, and whip spiders. I am particularly interested in the interactions between biota, geology, and climate that have lead to the present-day assemblage of life on Earth. I feel that by understanding the history of life on Earth, we can make better informed decisions for enabling the present-day flora and fauna to continue to adapt and evolve.
I study the diversity and evolution of ants. In particular, I am interested in uncovering the diversity, origin, and radiation of ants across the southwest Indian Ocean. Concerns over deforestation on Madagascar led me to deploy Malaise traps with metabarcoding to monitor 50 forest sites. We also study how edible insects can be farmed at scale to alleviate pressure on endangered habitat while supplementing local diets.
As collection manager I'm generally responsible for all entomology and arachnology collections, but have particular research interests in the Lepidoptera. Most of my work is focused on the southwest USA, but focus on the Pyraloidea and assorted basal lineages. I teach annually at the Lepidoptera Course in Portal, Arizona.
Systematics, biogeography, evolution, and natural history of carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae).
Changes in the altitudinal distributions of montane carabid beetles as indicators of climate change.
Biogeography, ecology, and evolution of high-altitude, montane organisms and faunas.
General aspects of biogeography and evolution.
General principles and methods of systematics.
My specialty is the systematics and evolution of solitary wasps family Sphecidae since 1955. In addition to minor papers, I have published essential monographs of Palearctic Tachytes (1962), Palearctic Tachysphex (1971), Palearctic Ammatomus (1973), Neotropical Tachysphex (1974), Australian Tachysphex (1977), Old World Parapiagetia (1977), World Prosopigastra (1979), North American Tachysphex (1988), World Kohliella (1991), World Holotachysphex (1992), World Gastrosericus (1995), African Tachysphex (2007), a book of 698 pages, world Palarini (2008, coauthored with Michael A.