My research program centers on elucidating the diversity, biology, and evolutionary history of aquatic beetles, an aggregate group of ca. 20 families with more than 12,000 described species. I focus on the superfamily Hydrophiloidea (the ‘water scavenger’ beetles), one of the few lineages of insects to have diversified in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. I place strong emphasis on 1) descriptive, alpha-level taxonomy through collaborative biodiversity surveys and inventories, and 2) developing robust phylogenetic hypotheses for clade of aquatic beetles utilizing data from varied sources, with a focus on morphological data sets. I am particularly interested in combining ecological data generated through biotic surveys with phylogenetic hypotheses to examine the patterns and prevalence of morphological adaptations associated with various aquatic ways of life and shifts between aquatic and terrestrial habitats.
Graduate Student Opportunities:
Potential graduate students with research interests that fall into at least one (usually two) of the following areas: 1) Coleoptera, 2) Aquatics, and 3) the Neotropic are encourage to apply. Although this research program is varied, specimen and field-based research are emphasized. All students conduct fieldwork and collections/museum-based activities as part of their degree. Students interested in pursing a PhD should have a strong foundation in biology and already have experience working in a particular group. Unwavering passion for an insect group and/or question(s) of interest are of paramount importance.
Interested students should contact Dr. Short before applying. The deadline for applications (coordinated through the KU Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) is December 15 for admission the following fall semester. Funding for accepted PhD students is guaranteed for 5 years.
Undergraduate Student Opportunities:
Dr. Short seeks motivated undergraduate students to join his research program. Opportunities for independent research projects and fieldwork are particularly strong at present. Prior work in entomology/systematics is not necessary. Emphasis is placed on goal-oriented projects that result in tangible results and publications in addition to practical experience. Interested students should contact Dr. Short.