My research focuses on obtaining a holistic perspective of the origin, diversity, and evolutionary history of native bees. It includes: 1) understanding historical relationships; 2) documenting and understanding diversity; 3) plant-pollinator interactions; 4) ethnobiology.
classification and evolution
I use comparative morphological analyses of living and fossil species to generate phylogenetic hypotheses and aim to 1) develop robust, stable classifications with predictive value for biological traits; 2) explore biogeographic patterns; and 3) infer the evolution of morphological and behavioral traits associated with nesting and foraging behavior. This area also includes the use of molecular data.
Species-level revisionary work is an important component of my research to document and understand bee diversity. In light of current pollinator declines, these studies are unquestionably aligned with current societal values and needs. We cannot assess the magnitude of a decline of pollinators and pollinator services if we cannot correctly identify them. I use an integrative and modern approach to recognize and circumscribe species as well as to document morphological diversity.
I study the ecology of plant-pollinator interactions in agricultural and natural environments. Another focus of my research is understanding the morphological and behavioral adaptations of pollinators to their hosts.
In collaboration with Jonathan Amith (Gettysburg University, Pennsylvania), I am investigating the classification and importance of native bees to a Mixtec speaking community in the municipality of San Luis Acatlán, Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico. Previous works documented the plants used by displaced indigenous groups in Colombia.