Current lab members:

Wayne Maddison                       PhD, Harvard University (1988)  
Professor                                      BSc Zoology, University of Toronto (1980)
& Canada Research Chair


My research arose from a fascination with the diversity of forms and behaviours of jumping spiders, which led to systematics, which led to phylogenetic theory and computer programming. My work continues to be both empirical, on spiders, and theoretical, on the use of phylogeny in evolutionary inference.
…more about Wayne

Edy Piascik                               B.A., Wilfrid Laurier University (2005)
M.Sc. student                             B.Sc., University of Toronto (2009)

Adaptive radiation, the evolution of ecological and morphological diversity within a rapidly multiplying lineage, gives rise to the diversification of life on earth. Studying them allows us to answer questions such as why are there so many species and why is there so much diversity in their function and form? By combining morphometric measurements along with molecular phylogenetic data, I am using jumping spiders to show that different continental regions show independent but similar diversifications in morphology correlated with ecology. more about Edy

Sam Evans                                    M.Sc., University of Akron (2013)
PhD student                                    B.Sc., Miami University (2010)

I began my research career studying terrestrial arthropod behavioral ecology, before moving on to more theoretical aspects of evolutionary ecology. During this time, I developed an interest in phylogenetic theory and applications. In my PhD research, I am combining anchored enrichment and transcriptome sequence data to better resolve the “backbone” of the salticid phylogeny, as well as lower-level relationships within the Harmochirines, the group containing the charismatic Habronattus jumping spiders.
… more about Sam

Karen Needham           M.Sc., University of British Columbia (1990)
Assistant Curator           B.Sc., University of British Columbia (1986)

KarenSmallMy specialty is the taxonomy, systematics, and biodiversity of aquatic insects, in particular Hemiptera, Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera, and Plecoptera. Forensic entomology is also an interest.

Former lab members at UBC:

Geneviève Leduc-Robert        B.Sc., University of British Columbia  (2011)
M.Sc. University of British Columbia (2016)


Habronattus jumping spiders have evolved remarkably diverse courtship ornaments, behaviours and karyotypes. I am interested in understanding what drives the evolution of this diversity. Divergence of such complex traits might be expected to lead to reproductive isolation, however there are many indications that hybridization may have played a role in shaping the evolution of the group. I used next-generation sequencing to further resolve the molecular phylogeny of Habronattus to explore the extent of hybridization’s role in their evolution. 

Gwylim Blackburn                      Ph.D. University of British Columbia (2013)
M.Sc., Simon Fraser University (2004)                     B.Sc., University of British Columbia (1997)

Sexual selection research aims to explain the origin and function of extravagant sexual display traits.  The presence of different display traits in different populations of a single species is useful in this regard, because we can ask whether the function of a given trait changes with its phentotype across populations.  This provides insight to display trait signal function and also to potential mechanisms of display divergence.  I used this approach to study three populations of Habronattus americanus jumping spiders that each possess a distinct male sexual display phenotype.              

Junxia Zhang                             PhD, University of British Columbia (2012)
Post-Doc, UC Riverside               MS, Hebei University (2002)             BS, Hebei Normal University (1999)

Phylogeny is the evolutionary history of organisms or their parts (for example, genes). A robust phylogeny is the foundation of many studies of evolutionary processes, for instance character evolution, sexual selection and processes controlling geographic distributions. My project was mainly focused on the phylogeny of the spider subfamily Euophryinae (Araneae: Salticidae) using both molecular and morphological data. Besides, I am also interested in the historical biogeography and genital organ evolution of spiders.

Melissa Bodner                       M.Sc., University of British Columbia (2011)
.                                                B.A. (Honors), Lewis and Clark College (2004)

I have always been fascinated by the rich and varied diversity of life on Earth.  Working closely with my advisor and colleagues, I worked on expanding and clarifying the topology of the existing Jumping Spider (Salticidae) molecular phylogeny.  I also studied continental patterns in Jumping Spider body forms and how these patterns may relate to microhabitat use.  My fieldwork has brought me to Ecuador and  to the tropical wet forests of Gabon in Central Africa. I am also interested in creative writing.  My favorite topics include the beauty and importance of biological diversity and the natural world, as well as the interaction between humans and the environment.

University of British Columbia (2003-present)

Ingi Agnarsson, University of Vermont
D. Elias, University of California, Berkeley
Peter Midford, The University of Kansas
Gustavo Ruiz, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belem
Mauricio Vega, Quito, Ecuador
R. Vos, University of Reading

University of Arizona (1990-2003)

Brent Burt, Stephen F. Austin State University
Greta Binford, Lewis & Clark College
Gita Bodner, The Nature Conservancy
Elke Buschbeck, University of Cincinnati
Eric Dyreson, University of Montana – Western
Peggy Gerba
Eileen Hebets, University of Nebraska
Marshal Hedin, San Diego State University
Matt Kaplan
Lacey Knowles, University of Michigan
Matt Loran
Susan Masta, Portland State University
Ellinor Michel, The Natural History Museum
Peter Midford, The University of Kansas
Debbie Scheidemantel
Sarah Vetault


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s