We study how the growth of phylogenetic knowledge impacts biological questions. Our interests span the bioinformatics of assembling and organising phylogenetic data, the visualisation and synthesis of this knowledge, and the analysis of key biological questions in a phylogenetic context. Our current focus is the convergence and divergence of key adaptations in spiders in a phylogenomic context.
Phyloinformatics — TreeBASE is a database of phylogenetic knowledge that we curate and edit. Its mission is to serve as a digital repository of phylogenetic data to facilitate synthesis and reuse of phylogenies across the tree of life.
Spider Biogeography — We use PostGIS to study large-scale patterns of in patterns of biogeography in spiders.
Phylogenomics of Transcriptomes — We’ve been collecting whole-body transcriptomes from Singaporean spiders in an effort to resolve relationships that have otherwise resisted inference using traditional markers.
Spider Web-Building Behavior — We use video digitization to track how spiders build webs. In particular, we are studying how Fecenia makes orb webs. What is fascinating about these spiders is that they are most closely related to ctenids — tropical wolf spiders that are largely cursorial — and therefore have convergently reinvented the ability to build orb webs de-novo.