Entomology Research

Researchers seek to understand global insect diversity, biology, and evolutionary history, using collection-based studies, genomic data, and morphology. Current entomology research centers on Beetles (Coleoptera) and Bees & Wasps (Hymenoptera).

Research at a Glance

  • KU Entomology is one of the most active and productive of entomological enterprises in the world, with a current focus on aquatic Coleoptera.
  • Research activities in the division are largely funded by extramural grants from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, and other international agencies, along with matching funds from entomological endowments.
  • The division was home to Kansas’ first elected member to the National Academy of Sciences, the late Distinguished Prof. & Curator Emeritus Charles D. Michener.  At the time of his passing, Prof. Michener was one of only three Academy members at the University of Kansas.

Field Expeditions

KU entomologists are literally circling the globe in order to explore insect diversity. From the high Arctic of the Svalbard Archipelago to the blazing deserts of southern and southwestern Saudi Arabia, from humid tropical forests of the Guiana Shield and high elevations in the Peruvian Andes, to the plains of northern India and China, our staff and students are actively engaged in exploration and discovery.

Our research is heavily specimen based and therefore requires detailed natural history observations from the field, as well as new samples for morphological and molecular work back in Kansas.  These collections support the research endeavors of not only our own staff and students, but countless other researchers throughout the world.  Through an intensive loan program the efforts of KU Entomology underpin the global enterprise of entomological research.

The most recent curator, Andrew Short, worked extensively across the Guiana Shield for the last several years, with numerous annual field excursions in Venezuela, Guiana, and Surinam.  Collection Manager Zachary Falin has been working throughout Guatemala, with expeditions in 2015, 2017, and 2018.