About Me

Michael BranstetterMy research program investigates the drivers of biological diversity using ANTS and other hyperdiverse insects as focal taxa. I integrate a variety of approaches, including alpha taxonomy, ecology, and phylogenomics, to understand the historical and contemporary forces that have shaped the amazing diversity of life that we encounter today.

I am also profoundly aware that we now live in the Anthropocene (human dominated epoch) and that biological diversity as we know it is at great risk. To aid conservation efforts and to discover and document species before they fade from existence, much of my research involves biodiversity exploration: the active search and discovery of species that are so far unknown to science and the general public. To discover, document, and preserve new species, I have become an explorer, collector, and curator of insects. Much of my research combines biodiversity inventory work with questions of broad scientific interest.

Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Longino Lab at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and I am an active collaborator on the NSF-funded Ant Diversity of the MesoAmerican Corridor (ADMAC) project. In addition to collecting ants for ADMAC, I am developing novel phylogenomic techniques that will aid species discovery and the creation of robust evolutionary trees.

Branstetter Curriculum Vitae

From field to species