Jessica Gillung


I am an evolutionary biologist who integrates molecular, morphological, behavioral, and ecological data into a comparative phylogenetic framework to understand the insect tree of life.

I aim to address key questions in the evolution of insect diversity, including:

  1. What are the relationships within the insect tree of life?
  2. Why are some lineages more diverse than others?
  3. How have host-parasitoid and plant-insect interactions influenced trait and lineage diversification?

By using phylogenomics to establish evolutionary hypotheses, my integrative approach seeks to understand how biotic and abiotic factors have shaped and influenced patterns of biodiversity.

I completed my Ph.D. at the Bohart Museum of Entomology of the Department of Entomology & Nematology at UC Davis. My dissertation research focused on the evolution and taxonomy of spider flies (Acroceridae), a remarkable group of parasitoids specialized in spiders.
I then transitioned to studying the evolution and diversification of aculeate Hymenoptera (stinging wasps and bees) as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Danforth Lab. In my research I combine field work, morphology, DNA sequence data, bioinformatics, and comparative methods to reconstruct the evolution and elucidate patterns of diversification, encompassing multiple taxonomic rankings, from species to higher level relationships.

Research Interests

phylogenetics, macroevolution, Diptera, Hymenoptera, historical biogeography, diversification