Dr. Corrie Moreau

Moser Professor of Biosystematics and Biodiversity
Director & Curator of the Cornell University Insect Collection

I am interested in the origin and evolution of species, and in particular, how symbiosis may influence patterns of diversification.  More specifically I am interested in how we can use diverse tools including molecular methods, next-generation sequencing, and comparative genomics with field-based research to unravel the tempo and mode of the evolution of biodiversity.

Web page: http://www.moreaulab.entomology.cornell.edu/people/corrie-moreau/

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Caroline Birer
Postdoctoral Fellow – Cornell University
The cuticular bacterial microbiota of ants is known to have a defensive role, particularly for leaf-cutting ants due to the use of antimicrobial molecules produced by cuticular Actinobacteria. In this context, my interests are about the chemical ecology of other tropical ant species and their associated Actinobacteria, by studying mass spectrometry (MS) molecular networks of metabolites produced by co-cultured Actinobacteria. MS molecular networks is a powerful technique to unravel the diversity of complex natural product compounds expressed by Actinobacteria, especially associated with hosts.



Dr. Doug Booher
Postdoctoral Fellow – Moreau & Suarez Labs
I am interested the processes and mechanisms responsible for the origination, organization, and maintenance of diversity. I am specifically interested in understanding how the importance of diversity maintaining and organizing processes and thus patterns of diversity change as a function of geographic scale. I am currently studying the effects of non-native species on Florida ant communities using historical records collected by entomologists and deposited in museums over the last few decades. I aim to describe what happens to native ant species when non-native species arrive and identify the traits that predict which non-native ant species will become successful. I am working on a taxonomic treatment of the ant genus Strumigenys in my spare time.
Website: http://www.antmuseum.com/


Dr. Manuela Ramalho
Postdoctoral Fellow – Cornell University
Symbiotic interactions are responsible for the evolution of animal diversity on the planet. To better understand the evolutionary significance of this association in nature, I study the bacterial communities of ants. Using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), I will examine the microbiota of samples from related hosts across different environments and in the context of their phylogenetic history.
Website: https://manuelaramalho.wordpress.com/

Graduate Students

Megan Barkdull
Ph.D. Graduate Student – Cornell University
I am interested in investigating how an ant’s genome gives rise to complex phenotypic traits, such as social and symbiotic behaviors. I am particularly interested in understanding the factors that create, maintain, and shape interpopulation genetic variation in these traits across the landscape.
Website: https://mbarkdull.github.io/



Benjamin Blanchard
Ph.D. Graduate Student – University of Chicago
I am intrigued by morphological adaptations and their influence on ecological interactions and species divergence. The ant genus Polyrhachis is ideal for investigating these topics, with some species boasting remarkably developed spines. I plan to investigate patterns of morphological evolution, including the role of specialization on speciation and the ecological functions of spines.
Website: http://benjaminblanchard.net/



Anaïs Chanson
Ph.D. Graduate Student – University of French Guiana (co-advised with Christophe Duplais)
I am interested in insect ecology and evolution, specifically in understanding how ants of the same or different species exhibit different microbial association according to their environment. I am currently studying the bacteria living on/in ants in Amazonia with the aim to understand the correlations between the diversity of biosynthetic gene clusters coded from non-ribosomal peptides from these bacteria and the host ants phylogeny/ecology.
Website: http://www.ecofog.gf/spip.php?article1027&lang=fr


Leland Graber
Ph.D. Graduate Student – Cornell University
I’m principally interested in the interactions of social insects with microbial symbionts. I am curious to see how microbes, when associated with insect societies, impact the behavior and physiology of the individual insects, as well as the social behaviors of the entire society. I’m also interested in the role that microbial symbionts played in shaping the evolution of different social insect species.
Website: https://sites.google.com/view/lelandgraber/home



Chloe Jelley
Ph.D. Graduate Student – Cornell University
– Starting Fall 2020 –



Phoebe Koenig
Master’s Graduate Student – Cornell University
– Starting Fall 2020 –




Peter Flynn
Ph.D. Graduate Student – University of Chicago
I am interested in adaptation and diversification in ant species. I am hoping to study ant trait evolution and species diversity using various phylogenetic and comparative techniques. I plan to investigate the role of biogeography, disease dynamics, and symbiosis on ant diversification using a combination of ecological field experiments with genomic and evolutionary analyses.
Website: https://peterflynnscience.wordpress.com/


Jaime Ortiz
Ph.D. Graduate Student – Cornell University
I am a Galápagueño dedicated to preserving island ecosystems. For my doctorate, I will be studying the invasive earthworms in the Galapagos Islands, which together with invasive ants may be contributing to the spread of invasive plant populations. My goal is to understand the introduction history of invasive earthworms and their evolutive response to the hostile environment of the Galapagos and to the co-occurrence of other invasive species, using mainly phylogenetic tools.

Research Assistants & Staff

Dr. Jason Dombroskie
Collections Manager
Cornell University Insect Collection

Undergraduate Interns, High School Interns, & Volunteers

Zoe Kim
Cornell University
Steven Wang
Cornell University
Jenna Webb
Cornell University

Visiting Scientists/Professors


Dr. Christophe Duplais
Group Leader
Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) & Scientific Affiliate at Field Museum, 2016 – present
I am interested in combining methods in analytical chemistry and molecular ecology to decipher the biosynthetic pathways of natural products in an evolutionary context. Our research in chemical ecology and evolutionary chemistry focuses on (1) the mechanism of heartwood formation in tropical woods, (2) community ecology of ants cuticular bacteria, (3) the impact of latex in plant evolution.
Website: https://duplais-lab.cnrs.fr/

Moreau Lab Alumni

Graduate Students

Postdoctoral Researchers

Research Assistants

  • Matt Boot (Now at: Ohio State University): 2015-2017
  • Gracen Brilmyer (Now at: University of California, Los Angeles): 2011-2014
  • Jesse Czekanski-Moir (Now at: SUNY-ESF): 2008-2010
  • Joe Rowlett: 2014-2015
  • Alexandra Westrich (Now at: Chicago Department of Public Health): 2010–2012 & 2014–2015
  • Brian Wray (Now at: Northwestern University): 2010-2017

Undergraduate Interns

  • Aaron-Bereich Apilado (School of the Art Institute of Chicago): 2012–2013
  • Jenna-Marie Antonucci (Loyola University): Summer 2009
  • Patrick Belenky (University of Illinois, Chicago): 2013–2014
  • Matthew Boot (Grand Valley State University): 2013–2015
  • Simon Briggs (School of the Art Institute of Chicago): 2013–2014
  • Andrew Burchill (University of Chicago): 2013–2014 (NSF REU intern 2013)
  • Kelsey Choo (School of the Art Institute of Chicago): 2014–2015
  • Jessica De Smet (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign): 2009–2011
  • Grant Doering (Arizona State University): Summer 2016 & 2017
  • Ariel Fang (School of the Art Institute of Chicago): 2011–2014
  • Manda Gibbs (Lake Forest College): FMWIS Kemper Scholar Summer 2014
  • Charles Griggs (Middlebury College): Summer 2013
  • Geneva Guinee (University of New England): Summer 2009
  • Ali Gutowski (School of the Art Institute of Chicago): 2013–2014
  • Caroline Hanson (School of the Art Institute of Chicago): 2012–2013
  • Mallory Hinz (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign): 2013
  • Madeline Jenkins (Beloit College): 2016–present
  • Madeleine Kelly (Harvard University): Summer 2017
  • Hanna Klaeser (Whitman College): Summers 2014 & 2016
  • Rachel Kleban (School of the Art Institute of Chicago): 2014
  • Stefanie Krim (School of the Art Institute of Chicago): 2013–2014
  • Daniel Minh-Tu Le (School of the Art Institute of Chicago): 2011
  • Elizabeth Loehler (Loyola University): Summer 2009 (NSF REU intern 2009)
  • Ariadne Lumayag (DePaul University): Summer 2010 (NSF CIRRUS intern 2010)
  • Paul Masonick (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign): 2014
  • Dreyvon McCray (Governor’s State University): Summer 2016 (NSF REU intern 2016)
  • Katherine McDonnell (Tufts University): Summer 2013
  • Steven Medina (Tulane University): Summer 2016
  • William Montag (Bowdoin University): Summer 2010 & 2011 (NSF REU intern 2011)
  • Stephanie Morgan (Beloit College): Summer 2013 (Field Museum Women In Science intern)
  • Amanda Mulcahy (School of the Art Institute of Chicago): 2014
  • Peter Nichols (School of the Art Institute of Chicago): 2014–2015
  • Timothy O’Connor (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign): 2010
  • Sean O’Fallon (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign): 2016–2017
  • Destiny Reeves (University of Chicago): 2016–2017
  • Ian Rines (Wofford College): Summer 2017 (NSF REU intern 2017)
  • Estefany Romero (Concordia University Chicago): Summer 2015 (Field Museum Women In Science intern)
  • Timothy Salazar (University of Chicago): 2014–2015
  • Francesca Socki (Ohio Wesleyan University): Summer 2017 (NSF REU intern 2017)
  • Kathleen Soler (DePaul University): 2009-2010
  • Lynika Stozier (Dominican University): Summer 2011 & Summer 2013
  • Andrea Thompson (Harold Washington College): 2014–2017
  • Arista Tischner (University of Illinois, Chicago): 2011–2014 (NSF CIRRUS intern 2011; NSF REU intern 2012)
  • Gabriel Trujillio (Lake Forest College): 2014–2015
  • Mitchell Trychta (Rhodes College): Summer 2016
  • Mariam Usmani (DePaul University): Summer 2009
  • Cody Weinberger (University of Chicago): 2013
  • Alexandra Westrich (School for the Art Institute of Chicago): 2009-2010
  • Jesse Williams (Roosevelt University): 2013–2014
  • Sara Zufan (Loyola University): 2009–2012 (NSF REU intern 2010

High school interns

  • Alexandra Gray (Deerfield Academy High School): Summer 2010
  • Charles Griggs (Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy): Spring 2012–Summer 2012
  • Eveline Liu (Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy): Fall 2013–Spring 2014
  • Katherine McDonnell (St. Francis High School): Summer 2012
  • Chelsea Wang (Naperville North High School): Summer 2013


  • Dr. Helga Haumuller: 2014
  • Daniel Le (School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Now at: Field Museum Botany Department): Undergraduate Volunteer 2011
  • Dr. Amanda Wass: 2008

Visiting Scientists

  • Frank Azorsa (Museo de Historia Natural, Lima, Peru): Visiting Museum Collections Assistant 2009
  • Dr. Caroline Birer (University of French Guiana): Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher 2017
  • Dr. Matthew Carson (Northwestern University): Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher 2013-2014
  • Dr. Arietta Fleming-Davies (University of Chicago; Now at: QUBES project): Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher 2011-2014
  • Dr. Cíntia Martins (Federal University of Piauí, Brazil): Visiting Fulbright Junior Faculty Member 2017-2018
  • Rodolfo Probst (Museu de Zoologia da University of São Paulo): Visiting Master’s Student 2015 & Research Assistant 2016
  • Dr. Gregory Putzel (Northwestern University): Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher 2013-2014
  • Dr. James Waters (Princeton University; Now at: Providence College): Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher 2014