Elizabeth Murray


I joined the Danforth lab in the fall of 2014 as a lecturer for the Department of Entomology. In 2015 and 2016, I taught the course, “Model-Based Phylogenetics and Hypothesis Testing” (Entom 4610), developing a curriculum based on student utilization of current research tools applicable to phylogenetic and evolutionary investigations. I really enjoyed teaching that class, but now am excited to be back into full-time research. As of summer 2016, I transitioned into a postdoc position working on a project on the phylogenomics of Aculeata, with relationships estimated using ultraconserved elements (highly conserved regions of the genome shared across taxa).

My research interests include phylogenetic reconstruction and the utilization of phylogenies for macroevolutionary analyses. I love trying new analytical programs to address different research questions! I am interested in using phylogenies to gain insight to the evolutionary history, diversification patterns, and biodiversity of a group, in addition to determining evolutionary relationships. In 2014, I completed my PhD at University of California Riverside under John Heraty in the Department of Entomology. For my dissertation research, I worked on the systematics, taxonomy, and evolutionary history of Eucharitidae (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea), which is group of wasps that are unique as the only insect family composed solely of ant parasitoids. My focus was on the New World eucharitid genera that attack ponerine and ectatommine ants.

Research Interests

phylogenetics, macroevolution, diversification, historical biogeography, Hymenoptera