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Silas Bossert

I am an evolutionary biologist specialized in the biology of bees.

I am currently a pre-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in the lab of Seán Brady. My home institution is the Entomology Department of Cornell University, where I study the natural history of bees and wasps as a grad student in Bryan Danforth's lab. My research includes methodological studies on bioinformatics of phylogenomics and next generation sequence data. I also work on less code-intensive empirical studies, like the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of the large sweat bee subfamily Nomiinae. Lastly, I love describing new bees!

I hold a Master's degree in Zoology from the University of Vienna, where I studied the phylogeny and ecology of the Bombus lucorum complex under supervision of Harald Krenn.

You should also check out my colleague Elizabeth Murray's website!



June 26 2019 – I wrote a blog post for the Methods in Ecology and Evolution blog. If you’re interested in UCEs, bait design, and large phylogenetic trees, it may be worth reading!

April 2019 – The best part of lab work is the part that the liquid handling robot does for you! (Luckily there is one at the Smithsonian LAB …)

Error messages – whatever!!

Error messages – whatever!!

April 28th 2019 – Not a new species but still a previously unknown bee: The female of Maculonomia tigeri. This species was described by Alain Pauly during the course of the TIGER project, which was led by Mike Sharkey. The project led to a huge number of newly described insect species and M. tigeri was one of them. However, until now, it was only known from the male sex and from just two collecting sites!

This is the result of the photo shoot with Ms. Maculonomia tigeri:

October 14th 2018 – We have a new paper on the phylogeny of bees. We combined data from transcriptomes and ultraconserved elements (UCEs) to reconstruct the phylogeny of the largest bee family Apidae. It is again open access, so have a look at the MPE website or download the Pdf!

May 2018 – Last month I learned that I was awarded a 1-year pre-doctoral fellowship of the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (SIFP). I am going to study the evolution and diversification dynamics of solitary bees at the Natural History Museum in DC under the supervision of Seán Brady!

April 4th 2018 – Our new paper on the universality of UCE capture baits was recently published in MEE (Methods in Ecology and Evolution). It is open access so feel free to check it out online or download the Pdf!

This is a summary figure from our latest MEE paper.

January 25th 2018 – A few weeks ago, our Danforth-lab undergrad Erin Krichilsky left Cornell to work as a research assistant at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. Barro-Colorado Island looks awesome and you should really check out Erin’s blog!

July 24th 2017  – I just got back from the second ECN management workshop held at the Milwaukee Public Museum in Wisconsin. It was so cool! Read about it in my newest entry in the bee trips section. Thanks to the Entomological Society of America (ESA) for granting me a travel voucher!

May 4th 2017  – Have you ever seen the female of Clavinomia clavicornis? Well I hadn't until I recently found it in the collection of the Logan Bee Lab at USU. Have a look!

April 30th 2017 – Good news, someone is no longer single: My colleague Seb Patiny from Belgium and I found the previously unknown male of Systropha macronasuta from KenyaI will soon upload a photograph into the gallery!

April 4th 2017 – Our new MPE paper on GC bias in phylogenomic data sets is out. I can't tell how it happened but we were awarded as Editor's choice!