Akito Y. Kawahara, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor / Curator
Florida Museum of Natural History
McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity
University of Florida
PO Box 112710
Gainesville, FL 32611-2710
Voice mail: (352) 273-2018
My research is focused on the evolution of Lepidoptera, especially the evolution of behavior. Studies in our lab have generally focused on the Gracillariidae and Sphingidae. I am especially interested in understanding how transitions in behavior have shaped insect diversity on both islands and continents. I also conduct higher-level phylogenetic work to improve classifications and examine evolutionary scenarios. Biogeographic work has focused on the Hawaiian archipelago where some of the most unusual and diverse Lepidoptera are found.
I generally use coding regions of the genome. Recent work has focused on using RNA-Seq data to construct insect transcriptomes and examine gene expression. In the past, I have also combined molecular data with morphological data from extant species and fossils. My research mainly utilizes model-based approaches.
Many of my current projects are being conducted with a team of domestic and international collaborators.