Naomi E. Pierce

Naomi E. Pierce

Sidney A. and John H. Hessel Professor of Biology, Curator of Lepidoptera in the Museum of Comparative Zoology
Senior Fellow of the Society of Fellows
Naomi Pierce

Faculty Support: Maggie Starvish

Research in our lab addresses the behavioral ecology of insects.  We combine molecular systematics, field ecology, laboratory experiments and specimen-based museum surveys to analyze the ecology and evolution of symbiotic associations. Recent projects include analyses of  ‘third party’ fungal and bacterial associations in African ant plants, the effect of specialized host plant and ant association on lycaenid population structure, complex interactions between microbiota, host plants and herbivores, the influence of neonicotinoid pesticides on pollinators and the evolution of sensory perception and signaling in nocturnal and diurnal Lepidoptera.

Recent Publications

Boyle, J.H. Martins, D., Musili, P.M. and N.E. Pierce. (2019) Population genomics and demographic sampling of the ant plant, Vachellia drepanolobium and its symbiotic ants from sites across its range in East Africa.  Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7: 206.

Crall, J.D., Switzer, C.M., Oppenheimer, R.L., Ford-Versypt, A., Dey, B., Brown, A., Eyster, M, Guérin, C., Pierce, N.E., Combes, S.A. and B.L. de Bivort. (2018) Chronic neonicotinoid exposure disrupts bumblebee nest behavior, social networks, and thermoregulation. Science 362: 683-386.

Schär, S., Eastwood, R, Arnaldi, K.G., Talavera, G., Kaliszewska, Z.A., Boyle, J.H., Espeland, M., Nash, D.R., Vila, R. and N.E. Pierce. (2018) Ecological specialization is associated with genetic structure. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 285: 20181158.

Kocher, S.D., Mallarino, R., Rubin, E.R., Yu, D.W, Hoekstra, H.E. and N.E. Pierce. (2018) The genetic basis of a social polymorphism in halictid bees. Nature Communications 9: 4338- 4346.

Bittleston, L.S., Wolock, C.J., Yahya, B.E., Chan, X.Y., Chan, K.G. Pierce, N.E. and A. Pringle. (2018) Convergence between the microcosms of Southeast Asian and North American pitcher plants. Elife 7: e36741.

Hu, Y*, Sanders, J.G. *, Łukasik, P., D’Amelio, K, Millar, J.S., Vann, D.R., Lan, Y., Newton, J.A., Schotanus, M., Kronauer, D.J.C., Pierce, N.E., Moreau, C.S., Wertz, J.T., Engel, P.and J.A. Russell. (2018). Herbivorous turtle ants obtain essential nutrients from a conserved nitrogen-recycling gut microbiome. Nature Communications 9: 964.

Espeland, M., Breinholt, J., Willmott, K.R., Warren, A.D., Vila, R., Toussaint, E.F.A., Maunsell, S.C., Kwaku, A.-P.,Talavera, G., Eastwood, R. Jarzyna, M.A., Ries, L. Guralinick, R., Lohman, D.J., Pierce, N. E. and A.Y. Kawahara. (2018) Comprehensive higher-level phylogeny of butterflies (Papilionoidea) inferred from genomic data. Current Biology 28: 770-778.

Gilbert, K.J., Nitta, J.H., Talavera, G. and N.E. Pierce. (2018) Keeping an eye on coloration: Ecological correlates of the evolution of pitcher traits in the genus Nepenthes (Caryophyllales). Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 123: 321-337.

Haney, C.H., Wiesmann, C.L., Shapiro, L.R., O’Sullivan, L. R., Khorasani, S., Melnyk, R.A., Xiao, L. Han, J., Bush, J., Carrillo, J., Pierce, N.E. and F.M. Ausubel. (2018) Rhizosphere-associated Pseudomonas induce systemic resistance to herbivores at the cost of susceptibility to bacterial pathogens. Molecular Ecology 27: 1833-1847.

Salzman, S., Whitaker, M and N.E. Pierce. (2018) Cycad-feeding insects share a core gut microbiome. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society123: 728-738.

Contact Information

The Museum of Comparative Zoology Labs
26 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
p: 617-495-2576


Search by Last Name