UCF Biology

Barbara Sharanowski

Research Area(s): Phylogenetic systematics of Hymenoptera, particularly parasitic wasps in the family Braconidae, evolution of insects, evolution of genomes, understanding patterns of biodiversity, integrated pest management, and biocontrol.

Research Interests

I have a broad research focus, integrating biology, morphology, phylogenetics, and genomics to examine the evolution of parasitic Hymenoptera. My research focuses on one of the most diverse and fascinating insect lineages – Ichneumonoidea. I am interested in the evolution of morphological variation and life history strategies of Ichneumonoidea over macroevolutionary timescales and how this has led to differential patterns of biodiversity. Most of my research focuses on Braconidae. Braconid parasitoids are extremely diverse (more than 19,000 escribed species) and fascinating organisms that attack a wide variety of insect groups, including many pest insects. I work on diverse areas related to parasitic wasps, including: delimiting cryptic species and describing new species, assessing biodiversity and understanding the evolutionary processes involved with the genesis of that biodiversity. My phylogenomics research has led me to pursue questions in comparative molecular evolution, particularly the evolution of introns within Hymenoptera and insects in general. Additionally, I am in the process of developing informatics tools to augment my research, including pipelines for predicting intron locations in non-model organisms, and modern tools to bring biodiversity information to the public sector. Additionally, I have worked on several biological control projects using parasitic wasps for the control of pest insects, as part of a holistic approach to sustainable pest management in agriculture and forestry. To that end I have developed mobile applications to facilitate integrated pest management and accurate identification of pest and beneficial insects in cropping systems.


Congratulations, Summer 2018 Ph.D. Grads!

The College of Sciences celebrated its new Ph.D. graduates in a reception hosted by Dean Michael Johnson. Twenty students were recognized at the ceremony with their family members and faculty advisors by their side. Associate Dea... Read more

UCF Researchers Develop App for Farmers

Canadian farmers have a new tool to help them fight pests thanks to the ingenuity of researchers at the University of Central Florida and the University of Manitoba. Researchers, led by UCF Associate Professor of biol... Read more

Declining Bee Population to get Helping Hand

Bees are going to get a helping hand next year when a UCF biologist launches her nationwide Bee Wild project. Funded by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Barbara Sharanowski will coordinate a nationwide... Read more

UCF Biologists Swarm Insect Conference

Thousands of scholars from all over the world gathered in Orlando with one thing in common: A love for bugs. The 2016 International Congress of Entomology conference was held at the Orange County Convention Center from Sept. 25 ... Read more

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