Our laboratory investigates the evolution and diversity of invertebrates, especially the butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera). We integrate many approaches, including phylogenetic, behavioral, functional genomic, and biodiversity informatics.
Utilizing next-generation sequencing, traditional molecular techniques, and morphology, the Kawahara research group tests hypotheses pertaining to the evolutionary transitions in invertebrates, such as historical shifts in life histories, host-use evolution, caterpillar vibratory communication, and the evolution of hearing organs and bat evasion in nocturnal arthropods. We also tie our work to biogeography and conduct comparative genomics to identify genes that are responsible for particular traits or behaviors. Our large-scale projects often utilize an informatics approach by including traits and linking them to phylogenies and geographic data.
Many of our projects are on Lepidoptera, and are being conducted with our domestic and international collaborators.