Naomi E. Pierce

Naomi E. Pierce

On Leave Fall 2022
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, evolution of caterpillar-ant associations in the Lycaenidae and other Lepidoptera, evolution of sensory perception and signaling in nocturnal and diurnal Lepidoptera, and biomimicry and engineering lessons drawn from the interaction between infrared light and the microstructures of insect cuticle.

Recent Publications

Liénard, M.A., Bernard, G.D., Allen, A.A., Lassance, J.-M., Song, S., Childers, R.R., Yu, N. Ye, D., Stephenson, A. Valencia-Montoya, W.A., Salzman, S., Whitaker, M.R.L., Calongje, M., Zhang, F. and N.E. Pierce (2021). The evolution of red color vision is linked to coordinated rhodopsin tuning in lycaenid butterflies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 118: e2008986118

Tsai, C.-C., Childers, R.A., Shi, N.N., Ren, C., Pelaez, J.N., Bernard, G.D., N.E. Pierce* and N. Yu* (2020) Physical and Behavioral Adaptations to Beat the Heat in the Living Wings of Butterflies. Nature Communications 11:551

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.

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.

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.

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.

Contact Information

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


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