Lab Fall 2016



Barbara Sharanowski, PhD


Dept. of Biology Profile

Associate Professor

Parasitic Hymenoptera are among the most fascinating of all organisms. My research focuses on understanding the phylogenetic and evolutionary history of Hymenoptera (Insecta), with a focus on parasitoids. Parasitoids are among the most speciose, morphologically diverse, and biologically complex of all insects, and therefore offer an idyllic system for examining the patterns and processes of evolutionary change. Robust, corroborated phylogenies are a necessary first step for comparative evolutionary research, allowing examinations into complex evolutionary patterns of both genotype and phenotype. My research extends from pure systematics, uncovering the phylogenetic history among Hymenopteran taxa at multiple taxonomic levels, to comparative evolutionary studies of complex genetic, morphological, and biological traits based on these phylogenies.

I also combine my taxonomic research with applied studies on biocontrol, conservation, and integrated pest management to achieve sustainable approaches to insect pest control in agriculture and forestry. I have and am continuing to develop novel mobile software to incorporate citizen science into conservation and sustainable agriculture. Further, I am interested in using emerging technologies to develop innovative tools for identifying pest and beneficial insects.

Nash Turley, PhD

Personal Website
GoogleScholar Profile


Leading citizen science project that converts lawns into native wildflower havens especially designed to attract native bees and other insects that pollinate plants. Click here to learn more about! 

Udari Wanigasekara

Personal Website

PhD Candidate (currently based at University of Manitoba)

Parasitoids are potentially effective biological control agents for controlling cutworms, but have been underutilized as there are a lack of studies on the biology and taxonomy of the specific species involved in Canadian Prairies. My research is developed to examine and delimit the species of parasitoids attacking cutworms in canola in Manitoba, determine the phenology of the parasitoid community attacking cutworms, develop an extension publication with an identification key to common parasitoids in canola, and perform the background research to develop habitat management strategies to increase the effectiveness of parasitoids for controlling cutworms.

Davide Dal Pos

PhD Student



Ryan Ridenbaugh

M.Sc Student

Evolution and natural history of the genus Eadya pertaining to biology control.


Josh Hogan


Undergrad, Technician

The focus of my research is to examine the biology of local subterranean termites (Reticulitermes spp.) through the keeping of many small colonies in the lab. I hope to learn more about the plasticity of their diet and the extreme conditions in which they can potentially live. I also assist my lab mates with their many projects as well as anything else that might need to be done around the lab. I’m also the President of the Entomology Society of Central Florida.

Dylan Grubb

Undergrad, RAMP Student

My research seeks to use a native pest, the Eastern Subterranean Termite (Reticulitermes flavipes), as a potential way to recycle poultry litter. We collect our termites from the wild using simple cardboard traps and house the colonies in a designated area within the lab. We run various experiments on the potential methods to treat the bedding to rid of the ammonia and other toxic chemicals in the chicken feces that would kill the termites otherwise. Moving forward, we will work to design a habitat to house these termites on farms so that poultry farmers can easily and cheapy dispose of litter.

Gloria Stewart

Undergrad, Technician

My research is examining gamification strategies to identify pollinators for a nation-wide citizen science program and I use bioinformatics to examine gene alignments for phylogenomics. I also actively work in the bug closet identifying pollinators.

Shawn Kelly, M. Sc


Collection Manager

He acquired an M.S. from the UCF Department of Biology, focusing on analyzing aquatic beetles that assemble each year in ranch wetlands in a phylogenetic community structure framework. Furthermore, he is a local expert on Central Florida insects, especially Coleoptera (beetles).  Visit the museum to learn about his work.


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