Lab Members

Graduate Students


Ph. D. candidate, Graduate Group in Population Biology, University of California, Davis(2011-present)

B. A., Biology, Cornell University (2011)

Research Interests: I am broadly interested in using phylogenetic and functional morphological approaches to understand the patterns and processes shaping the remarkable diversity of fishes. My current focus is on the Syngnathiformes (e.g. seahorses and pipefish), a group of fishes with unusual and novel modes of locomotion, reproduction, and feeding. Recent work in other labs has indicated that seahorses and pipefish feed using an elastic recoil mechanism. As part of my dissertation, I plan to investigate this feeding mechanism in more detail and to characterize its phylogenetic distribution in order to understand the evolution of this functional innovation and how it has shaped the evolutionary history of the Syngnathiformes. I am also interested in studying the interplay between functional innovation and functional constraint and how both affect morphological and lineage diversification rates.

Recent publications:

Longo S., M. Riccio, A.R. McCune. 2013. Homology of lungs and gasbladders: insights from arterial vasculature. Journal of Morphology.  274:687-703.

For more information about Sarah’s research, visit her website or contact her at


Ph. D. student, Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California, Davis (2014-present)

B.A., Integrative Biology and Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley (2012)

In broad terms, I am interested in studying ecomorphology, adaptive radiations and convergent evolution by integrating molecular phylogenies, morphological data and fossil information; this approach can provide key insights into evolutionary processes and potentially deterministic aspects of phenotypic evolution. Currently, I am interested in examining how predation risk, habitat type, and prey choice have affected the morphology and evolutionary history of Cancridae crabs and how claw dimorphism relates to the breadth of a crab species’ diet.

For more information about Lauren’s research, contact her at

Postdoctoral Researchers


Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis (November 2008-present)

Postdoctoral Fellow, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, USA (2005-2008)

Ph.D., University of Virginia (Sept 2005)

B.A., Oxford University, UK (June 2001)

Research interests: I seek to understand the fundamental processes driving large-scale macroevolutionary and macroecological patterns by utilising phylogenetic comparative methods. My previous research focused on mammalian evolution, in particular cetacean size and life history evolution as well as an ongoing collaborative project set on the evolution of mammalian dietary strategies.  I also dabble in phylogenetics, in particular methods for combining previously published trees into new phylogenies (supertrees). In the Wainwright lab I am applying my skills to understanding the evolution of the labrid radiation from a morphological perspective and occasionally building molecular phylogenies.

Several recent publications:

Price SA, Gittleman JL. 2007. Hunting to extinction: biology and regional economy influence extinction risk and the impact of hunting in artiodactyls. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 274:1845-1851.

Bininda-Emonds ORP, Cardillo M, Jones KE, MacPhee RDE, Beck RMD, Grenyer R, Price SA, Vos RA, Gittleman JL, Purvis A. 2007. The delayed rise of present-day mammals. Nature 446:507-512.

Ezenwa VO, Price SA, Altizer S, Vitone ND, Cook KC. 2006. Host traits and species richness in even and odd-toed hoofed mammals, Artiodactyla and Perissodactyla. Oikos 115:526-536.

Price SA, Bininda-Emonds ORP, Gittleman AL. 2005. A complete phylogeny of the whales, dolphins and even-toed hoofed mammals (Cetartiodactyla). Biological Reviews 80:445-473.

For more information about Sam’s research, visit her website or contact her at


NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of
California, Davis (February 2013 -present)

Ph.D., Organisms and Environment, University of California, Berkeley (2011)

M.A., Evolution and Ecology, San Francisco State University (2005)

B.A., English Literature, University of California, Berkeley (1999)

Research Interests: My research interests focus on functional morphology, particularly in
relation to diversification, ecology, and behavior. I have been
examining two closely related spider families (the pelican and
trap-jaw spiders, families Archaeidae and Mecysmaucheniidae) that have
both evolved unusual jaw/carapace morphologies, which directly relate
to their predatory behaviors. Working with trap-jaw spiders, I hope to
address how diversification rates change in relation to rates of
morphological and functional change as the trap-jaw structure evolves
increasing complexity. Working on pelican spiders, my research focuses
on understanding the timing and nature of diversification patterns in
relation to the evolution of the novel jaw/carapace morphology, with an
emphasis on ancient speciation patterns in Madagascar.

Several recent publications:

Wood, H.M, Matzke, N.J., Gillespie, R.G., Griswold, C.E. 2013.
Treating fossils as terminal taxa in divergence time estimation
reveals ancient vicariance patterns in the Palpimanoidea spiders.
Systematic Biology 62:264-284. download pdf.

Wood, H.M, Griswold, C.E., Gillespie, R.G. 2012. Phylogenetic
placement of pelican spiders (Archaeidae, Araneae), with insight into
evolution of the “neck” and predatory behaviors of the superfamily
Palpimanoidea. Cladistics 28:598–626. download pdf.

Griswold, C., Wood, H.M., Carmichael, A. 2012. The lace web spiders
(Araneae, Phyxelididae) of Madagascar: phylogeny, biogeography and
taxonomy. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 164:728–810.

Wood, H.M., Griswold, C.E., Spicer, G.S. 2007. Phylogenetic
relationships within an endemic group of Malagasy ‘assassin spiders’
(Araneae, Archaeidae): ancestral character reconstruction, convergent
evolution and biogeography. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
45:612-619. download pdf.

For more information about Hannah’s research, visit her website or contact her at


Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of
California, Davis (2014-present)

Ph.D., James Cook University, Australia (Nov 2014)

M.App.Sc. James Cook University, Australia (Dec 2008)

B.Sc., University of Miami (Dec 2005)

Research interests: I am broadly interested in the chronology and biogeography of species diversification, and mechanisms that maintain species boundaries. My previous research has focused on the evolution of coral reef fish species, in particular the timing of extant species diversification in relation to biogeographical patterns, the identification of biogeographical barriers important in separating sister-species, and mapping geographical areas of overlap among sister-species. I am now applying my skills to understand the evolution and role of phenotypic traits in coral reef fishes.

Several recent publications:

Hodge, J.R. & Bellwood, D., 2014. On the relationship between age and geographical range in reef fishes: are widespread species older than they seem? Global Ecology and Biogeography. in press.

Hodge, J.R., van Herwerden, L., Bellwood, D., 2014. Temporal evolution of coral reef fishes: global patterns and disparity in isolated locations. Journal of Biogeography 41(11): 2115–2127. doi: 10.1111/jbi.12356.

Hodge, J.R., Read, C.I., Bellwood, D., van Herwerden, L., 2013. Evolution of sympatric species: A case study of the coral reef fish genus Pomacanthus (Pomacanthidae). Journal of Biogeography 40(9): 1676–1687. doi: 10.1111/jbi.12124.

Hodge, J.R., Read, C.I., van Herwerden, L., Bellwood, D., 2012. The role of peripheral endemism in species diversification: Evidence from the coral reef fish genus Anampses (Family: Labridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 62(2): 653–663. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2011.11.007.

For more information about Jen’s research, visit her website or contact her at .

Visiting Scholar

QIONGYING TANGQiongying photo

Visiting Scholar, University of California, Davis (Oct 2014-Oct 2015)

Associate Professor, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2012-present)

Assistant Professor, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2005- 2012)

Ph.D., Aquaculture, College of Fishery, Huazhong Agricultural University (June 2005)

B.S., Aquaculture, Department of Freshwater Fisheries, Southwest University (June 2000)

Research interests: My major research interests are focused on evolutionary biology of fishes, including molecular phylogeny, biogeography, and speciation of the eastern Asian freshwater fishes, especially loaches in the order Cypriniformes,aiming to understand the origin and evolutionary process of fish biodiversity in East Asia.

Several recent publications:

Tang, Q., Liu, S., Yu, D. & Liu, H* & Danley, P. D. 2012. Mitochondrial capture and incomplete lineage sorting in balitorinae loaches (Cypriniformes: Balitoridae) revealed by mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences. Zoologica Scripta, 41: 233-247.

Liu, S., Mayden, R.L, Zhang, J., Yu, D., Tang, Q.*, Deng, X. & Liu, H*. 2012. Phylogenetic relationships among Cobitoidea (Teleostei; Cypriniformes) inferred from nuclear and mitochondrial genes and analyses of gene evolution. Gene, 508:60-72.

Liu, H.*, Yang, J. & Tang, Q. 2010. Estimated evolutionary tempo of East Asian gobionid fishes (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) from mitochondrial DNA sequence data. Chinese Science Bulletin, 55(15): 1501-1510.

Tang, Q., Getahun, A. & Liu, H*. 2009. Multiple In-to-Africa dispersals of labeonin fishes (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) revealed by molecular phylogenetic analysis. Hydrobiologia, 632:261-271.

For more information about Qiongying’s research, contact her at or

Junior Specialist- Lab Manager


B.S., Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington (2014)

sarah_friday harborResearch Interests: I am interested in using a combination of genetic and
morphometric evidence to explore the mechanisms behind macroevolutionary processes witha particular focus on marine fish diversity. Currently, I am investigating morphological convergence in planktivorous acanthurids (surgeonfish) and the influence of fin spines on cyprinid (carp, minnow) body shape evolution.