The research team shares a progressive vision for bringing modern taxonomic methods to bear on elucidation of tabanid biodiversity and phylogenetics of Diptera. The research team has an established history of collaboration that has been funded through previous PEET projects and the FLYTREE ATOL. Most significantly, the team provides a diverse blend of creative and productive talents in biosystematics research, and each fills a unique niche towards meeting our goals and training our students.

PI Brian Wiegmann (BMW) specializes in molecular systematics of Diptera, with a broad perspective on middle brachyceran diversity and evolution. BMW’s research emphasizes higher-level, multigene phylogenetics, combined morphological and molecular data analyses, and macroevolution of flies. BMW will administer and coordinate project activities and goals, coordinate molecular data collection and analysis, and direct NCSU graduate student projects.

Co-PI Shelah Morita (SIM) is an emergent new leader in systematics and evolution of Tabanidae. Her recently completed dissertation included monographic, phylogenetic, and evolutionary analyses of long-tongued tabanids in the genus Philoliche (Morita 2007a,b,c)SIM will conduct phylogenetic and monographic research on pangoniine tabanids, collect data on higher-level tabanid phylogeny, and mentor graduate and undergraduate students.

Co-PI David Yeates (DKY) is an established taxonomic authority with over 20 years of professional contributions in brachyceran Diptera phylogeny, morphology, taxonomy, behavior, and evolution. DKY will direct projects focused on Australasian tabanid diversity, direct monographic tool choice and application, coordinate morphological character assessment, the development of interactive keys, and phylogenetic analyses.

Co-PI Gail Kampmeier (GEK), designer of the Mandala database system, brings creativity and experience in natural history informatics. She has been an active member of the DIGIT (Digitization of Natural History Collections) Science Subcommittee of GBIF, the Entomological Collections Network (ECN), and TDWG (Taxonomic Databases Working Group), Kampmeier works closely with other NSF projects on efforts to solve the looming crisis of maintaining access to the electronic research products produced in modern NSF grants. As our database manager, Kampmeier will troubleshoot questions about data entry, add functionality to the database, improve documentation and methods for training project members, work to improve the web interface, and ultimately provide data to ITIS, GBIF, and other groups as appropriate.

Graduate Students

Master’s student Keith M. Bayless comes to the tabanid PEET project with a B.S. in Entomology and Biology, with a concentration on genetics and development, from Cornell University, NY. His Honors thesis, advised by Torsten Dikow, is titled: Taxonomic revision of the genus Schildia Aldrich, 1923 (Diptera: Asilidae: Leptogastrinae) with descriptions of new extant and fossil species. He has a broad interest in flies and is a content contributor to the Diptera pages for the Tree of Life web project. Keith will be working on horse flies in the genus Dasychela from South America, looking specifically at the relationships between proboscis length and antennal morphology as they relate to ecological specialization.

Ph.D. Candidate Bryan Lessard is focusing on the evolution and phylogenetic relationships of southern hemisphere horse flies in light of the separation of Gondwana land masses. He comes to the Tabanid PEET project in 2009 with a strong foundation in biotechnology and Diptera biology. He is based at CSIRO in Canberra and collaborates with the Australian National University and North Carolina State University.

Master’s student Daniela Elena Ramírez joined the Wiegmann lab after a B.S. in Biology in Enseñada, México. She has a strong interest in systematics, museum curation, public outreach and insect biodiversity particularly of Mexico and the Southwestern US. She nurtured these interests as a volunteer curator at the Museo de Artrópodos de Baja California in CICESE for several years. Daniela’s thesis project focuses on systematics of New World pangoniine Tabanidae, particularly within the genus Esenbeckia.


Dr. John Burger
Professor of Zoology
University of New Hampshire
Established authority on Tabanidae

Dr. John J.S. Burton
Gainesville, Florida
Expert in Southeast Asian Tabanidae

Dr. John Chainey
Curator, Lepidoptera
British Museum of Natural History
Established expert in Tabanidae

Dr. Brian Fisher
Associate Curator and Chair of Entomology
California Academy of Sciences
Contributor of Tabanidae from the Madagascar Biodiversity Survey

Dr. Michael E. Irwin
Schlinger Arthropod Biodiversity Research Professor, emeritus
University of Illinois
Expert on lower brachyceran diversity and taxonomy

Dr. Peter Kerr
Research Entomologist
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Expert in internal morphology of Tabanomorpha

Dr. Steven Mihok
International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya
Expert in biting flies and biting fly control

Katja Seltzmann
MORPHBANK Team Curator
Florida State University
Expert in image libraries and web databases

Dr. Mike Sharkey
Professor of Entomology
University of Kentucky
Contributor of Tabanidae from the the Thailand Biodiversity Survey (TIGER).

Bruce Sutton
Curator of Tabanidae
Florida State Collection of Arthropods
Expert on chemo-taxonomy of North American Tabanidae

Dr. F. C. Thompson
Adjunct Scientist, Dept. of Entomology
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Expert in Diptera, nomenclature and biosystematic information dissemination.

Dr. Don Webb
Senior Professional Scientist, emeritus
Illinois Natural History Survey
Expert with morphological and taxonomic experience on Tabanomorpha

Dr. Jory Weintraub
Science Education and Outreach Program Manager
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center

Dr. Richard Wilkerson
Manager, Research Entomologist
Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit
Expert in biting flies and Tabanidae

Dr. Shaun Winterton
Principal Entomologist (Curator)
University of Queensland
Leading PEET-trained researcher in lower brachyceran systematics

Dr. Norman Woodley
Research Entomologist
Expert in Tabanomorpha morphology and systematics

Dr. Theo Zeegers
Soest, The Netherlands
Expert in Palaearctic Tabanidae