As a trophic ecologist, I study how and why insects eat what they eat. I do so by investigating the fascinating and diverse life histories of moths and butterflies, with particular interest in the large and trophically diverse family, Lycaenidae. With training in community ecology and evolutionary biology, I utilize diverse methods including DNA-based ‘omics approaches, field and laboratory experiments, and analytical chemistry.
Valencia-Montoya, Quental, Tonini, Lamas, Talavera, Crall, Liénard, Salzman, Whitaker, Busby, Kawahara, Lohman, Robbins, Pierce. Evolutionary tradeoffs between male secondary sexual traits revealed by a phylogeny of the hyperdiverse tribe Eumaeini (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288: 20202512.
Liénard, Bernard, Allena, Lassance, Song, Childers, Yu, Dajia Yeb, Stephenson, Valencia-Montoya, Salzman, Whitaker, Calonje, Zhanga, Pierce. 2021. The evolution of red colour vision is linked to coordinated rhodopsin tuning in lycaenid butterflies. PNAS 118(6): e2008986118.
Whitaker & Salzman. 2020. Ecology and evolution of cycad-feeding Lepidoptera. Ecology Letters 23: 1862-1877.