Leo Smith

Principal Investigator at KU since 2013


Leo studies the phylogenetics of fishes using anatomical, morphometric, and genomic analyses to understand character evolution and fish diversification.

Representative publication: 

Near, T.J., Eytan, R.I., Dornburg, A., Kuhn, K.L., Moore, J.A., Davis, M.P., Wainwright, P.C., Friedman, M., and Smith, W.L. 2012. Resolution of ray-finned fish phylogeny and timing of diversification. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 109:13698-13703.

Jennifer Stern

Undergraduate Honors Researcher since 2014

Jenny is conducting independent research on the comparative anatomy and evolution of venomous sharks.


Matthew Girard

Doctoral Aspirant at KU since 2014


Matt studies the evolution of marine fishes, focusing on coral reef fish phylogenetics and morphology.


Matthew P. Davis

Postdoctoral Fellow 2012-2014

Now, assistant professor at St. Cloud State University

Matt studies the evolution and diversification of bioluminescent and deep-sea fishes.

Representative publication:
Davis, M.P., Holcroft, N.I., Wiley, E.O., Sparks, J.S., and Smith, W.L. 2014. Species-specific bioluminescence facilitates speciation in the deep sea. Mar. Biol. 161:1139-1148.


Nicholas J. Lang

Postdoctoral Fellow 2008-2011

Now, instructor at Lane Tech in Chicago

Nick studied the phylogenetics of darters and lampreys.

Representative publication:
Lang, N.J., Mayden, R.L. 2007. Systematics of the subgenus Oligocephalus (Teleostei: Percidae: Etheostoma) with complete subgeneric sampling of the genus Etheostoma. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 43:605-615.

Rebecca B. Dikow

Doctoral Student 2007-2012

Now, genomics postdoc at the Smithsonian Institution

Rebecca studies the use of complete genomic data in phylogenetics.

Representative publication:
Dikow, R.B. 2011. Genome-level homology and phylogeny of Shewanella (Gammaproteobacteria: Alteromonadales: Shewanellaceae). BMC Genomics 12:237.

Timothy Sosa

Doctoral Student 2010-2013 

Now, doctoral student with Shannon Hackett after Smith Lab moved to KU

Tim studies the diversification of characoids after their invasion into Middle America.

Representative publication:
Balete, D.S., Rickart, E.A., Heaney, L.R., Alviola, P.A., Duya, M.V., Duya, M.R.M., Sosa, T., Jansa, S.A. 2012. Archboldomys (Muridae: Murinae) reconsidered: A new genus and three new species of shrew mice from Luzon Island, Philippines
Amer. Mus. Novitates 3754:1-60.


Elizabeth Everman

Undergraduate Intern 2011

Now, doctoral student at Kansas State University

Elizabeth studied the molecular phylogenetics of scorpionfishes.

Representative publication:
Everman, E. and Klawinski, P. 2013. Human-facilitated jump dispersal of a non-native frog species on Hawai'i Island. J. Biogeog. 40:1961-1970.


University of Kansas, Biodiversity Institute, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045; 785.864.6874 ©2016 W.L. Smith