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John Heraty

PhD. Texas A&M University, 1990

MSc  University of Guelph, 1984

BSc  University of Guelph, 1976

Research focuses on the systematics, phylogeny and biogeography of the Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera). Chalcidoid wasps rank numerically among the largest groups of insects, with estimates of as many as 100,000 species; however, the fauna is poorly known. Most are specialized parasites, and the majority of successful biological control projects have utilized these minute wasps to achieve partial or complete control of insect pests. One area of our research is on the Eucharitidae, a specialized group of ant parasities. The taxonomy of this group is poorly understood, and presently, only a small proportion of the known species can be identified. The larvae of Eucharitidae exhibit several peculiar behaviors associated with gaining access to the ant host, and studies on higher classification using cladistic methodology have led to a greater understanding of the evolution of behavioral patterns within the family, This knowledge has proved useful in studies on other groups of Hymenoptera that parasitize eusocial insects and for postulating a biogeographic hypothesis for the family. A second area of research emphasizes the systematics of the Aphelinidae, which are generally parasites of aphids, whiteflies and scale insects. Most analyses of relationships have been based on internal and external morphological traits, but molecular techniques are now being applied to understanding the higher phylogeny of the Chalcidoidea and the relationships among species of the genus Encarsia (Aphelinidae). Other research interests include studies of the diversity of Hymenoptera on the Galapagos Islands, internal studies of the skeleto-musculature of Hymenoptera and parasitoid interactions with leafmining moths of the family Gracillariidae. All of our studies incorporate morphological, biological or molecular information into analyses that are used to formulate hypotheses of phylogenetic relationships and the evolution of behavioral patterns. The evolution of host associations, an area of paramount importance to biological control programs, is central to all of our studies. This is a fascinating area of research demonstrating the utility and impact of systematics to almost every area of science.