Naomi E Pierce

Naomi E Pierce
Harvard University | Harvard · Museum of Comparative Zoology & Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

PhD

About

620
Publications
57,653
Reads
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10,078
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 1990 - present
Harvard University
Position
  • Hessel Professor of Biology and Curator of Lepidoptera

Publications

Publications (620)
Article
Full-text available
Here, we present the largest, global dataset of Lepidopteran traits, focusing initially on butterflies (ca. 12,500 species records). These traits are derived from field guides, taxonomic treatments, and other literature resources. We present traits on wing size, phenology,voltinism, diapause/overwintering stage, hostplant associations, and habitat...
Chapter
“The Natural History of Caterpillar-Ant Associations” was previously published non-open access. It has now been changed to open access under a CC BY 4.0 license and the copyright holder updated to ‘The Author(s)’. The book has also been updated with this change.
Preprint
Full-text available
Migration is typically associated with risk and uncertainty at the population level, but little is known about its cost and benefit trade-offs at the species level. Migratory insects often exhibit strong demographic fluctuations due to local bottlenecks and outbreaks. Here, we use genomic data to investigate levels of heterozygosity and long-term p...
Article
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The Albany pitcher plant, Cephalotus follicularis , has evolved cup-shaped leaves and a carnivorous habit completely independently from other lineages of pitcher plants. It is the only species in the family Cephalotaceae and is restricted to a small region of Western Australia. Here, we used metabarcoding to characterize the bacterial and eukaryoti...
Preprint
Host plant specialization by moths and butterflies has been a primary research focus in the field of coevolution and ecological specialization. However, factors underlying the evolution of host specificity remain largely unclear despite decades of research. Here, we demonstrate that host plant specialization is closely linked to diurnality in the L...
Preprint
Butterflies are a diverse and charismatic insect group that are thought to have diversified via coevolution with plants and in response to dispersals following key geological events. These hypotheses have been poorly tested at the macroevolutionary scale because a comprehensive phylogenetic framework and datasets on global distributions and larval...
Article
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The collection of caterpillar fungus accounts for 50-70% of the household income of thousands of Himalayan communities and has an estimated market value of $5-11 billion across Asia. However, Himalayan collectors are at multiple economic disadvantages compared with collectors on the Tibetan Plateau because their product is not legally recognized. U...
Article
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The Hengduan Mountains region is a biodiversity hotspot known for its topologically complex, deep valleys and high mountains. While landscape and glacial refugia have been evoked to explain patterns of inter‐species divergence, the accumulation of intra‐species (i.e. population level) genetic divergence across the mountain‐valley landscape in this...
Article
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Plant‐associated microbial communities can profoundly affect plant health and success, and research is still uncovering factors driving the assembly of these communities. Here, we examine how geography versus host species affect microbial community structure and differential abundances of individual taxa. We use metabarcoding to characterize the ba...
Article
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Protected areas are key to meeting biodiversity conservation goals, but direct measures of effectiveness have proven difficult to obtain. We address this challenge by using environmental DNA from leech-ingested bloodmeals to estimate spatially-resolved vertebrate occupancies across the 677 km ² Ailaoshan reserve in Yunnan, China. From 30,468 leeche...
Article
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Visual opsins of vertebrates and invertebrates diversified independently and converged to detect ultraviolet to long wavelengths (LW) of green or red light. In both groups, colour vision largely derives from opsin number, expression patterns, and changes in amino acids interacting with the chromophore. Functional insights regarding invertebrate ops...
Article
Naturalist, synthesizer and conservation champion.
Article
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• Fire is a major selective force on arid grassland communities, favoring traits such as the smoke-induced seed germination response seen in a wide variety of plant species. However, little is known about the relevance of smoke as a cue for plants beyond the seedling stage. • We exposed a fire-adapted savanna tree, Vachellia (=Acacia) drepanolobium...
Cover Page
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The cover image is based on the Short Communication Out of sight, out of mind: Public and research interest in insects is negatively correlated with their conservation status by Zhengyang Wang et al., https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12499. Image Credit: Kun Qin (Mt. Dayao Nature Reserve).
Preprint
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PREMISE: Quantifying how closely related plant species differ in susceptibility to insect herbivory is important for our understanding of variation in plant-insect ecological interactions and evolutionary pressures on plant functional traits. However, empirically measuring in situ variation in herbivory over the entire geographic range where a plan...
Article
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Insect diversity and abundance are in drastic decline worldwide, but quantifying insect populations to better conserve them is a difficult task. Mark-release-recapture (MRR) is widely used as an ecological indicator for insect populations, but the accuracy of MRR estimates can vary with factors such as spatial scale, sampling effort and models of i...
Article
The last Xerces blue butterfly was seen in the early 1940s, and its extinction is credited to human urban development. This butterfly has become a North American icon for insect conservation, but some have questioned whether it was truly a distinct species, or simply an isolated population of another living species. To address this question, we lev...
Article
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Taxa are frequently labeled incertae sedis when their placement is debated at ranks above the species level, such as their subgeneric, generic or subtribal placement. This is a pervasive problem in groups with complex systematics due to difficulties in identifying suitable synapomorphies. In this study, we propose combining DNA barcodes with a mult...
Article
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Male butterflies in the hyperdiverse tribe Eumaeini possess an unusually complex and diverse repertoire of secondary sexual characteristics involved in pheromone production and dissemination. Maintaining multiple sexually selected traits is likely to be metabolically costly, potentially resulting in trade-offs in the evolution of male signals. Howe...
Article
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• Conservation ‘culturomics’ analyses changes in word frequencies within large digital sources to gain conservation insights. Studies of mammals and birds have found little correlation between conservation need and research effort or popular interest. In this study, we examine research and public interest in 9355 potentially endangered insect speci...
Article
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Coevolution between plants and insects is thought to be responsible for generating biodiversity. Extensive research has focused largely on antagonistic herbivorous relationships, but mutualistic pollination systems also likely contribute to diversification. Here we describe an example of chemically-mediated mutualistic species interactions affectin...
Article
Full-text available
Color vision has evolved multiple times in both vertebrates and invertebrates and is largely determined by the number and variation in spectral sensitivities of distinct opsin subclasses. However, because of the difficulty of expressing long-wavelength (LW) invertebrate opsins in vitro, our understanding of the molecular basis of functional shifts...
Article
The authors regret that in the published article the affiliation for the author Xinfen Gao was incorrectly denoted as ‘c’. Xinfen Gao is in fact affiliated with ‘b’: Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. The authors would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Article
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China’s Hengduan Mountain region has been considered one of the most diverse regions in the northern hemisphere. Its stunning topography with many deep valleys and impassable mountain barriers has promoted an astonishing diversification in many groups of organisms including plants, birds, mammals, and amphibians. However, the insect biodiversity in...
Article
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Endophytic insect pathogenic fungi of the order Hypocreales reside in plant tissues as mutualistic partners that protect plants against insect herbivores. Caterpillar fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis (order: Hypocreales, family: Ophiocordycipitaceae) is often described as an entomophagous fungus that parasitizes lepidopteran larvae of the ghost moth...
Article
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Elevation is an important determinant of ecological community composition. It integrates several abiotic features and leads to strong, repeatable patterns of community structure, including changes in the abundance and richness of numerous taxa. However, the influence of elevational gradients on microbes is understudied relative to plants and animal...
Article
The butterfly tribe Candalidini is geographically restricted to Australia and mainland New Guinea and its adjacent islands. With 60 species and subspecies, it represents a large radiation of Papilionoidea in the Australian region. Although the species‐level taxonomy is relatively well understood, the number of genera is uncertain, varying from two...
Article
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Most cycads engage in brood-site pollination mutualisms, yet the mechanism by which the Cycadales entice pollination services from diverse insect mutualists remains unknown. Here, we characterize a push-pull pollination mechanism between a New World cycad and its weevil pollinators that mirrors the mechanism between a distantly related Old World cy...
Article
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Ghost moths in the genus Thitarodes Viette, 1968, are hosts of the economically important caterpillar fungus, which is harvested in high mountain meadows across the Hengduan mountains and the Himalayas. In northwestern India, although caterpillar fungus has been collected in the state of Uttarakhand, no adults of Thitarodes species have been record...
Preprint
Full-text available
Colour vision is largely mediated by changes in number, expression, and spectral properties of rhodopsins, but the genetic mechanisms underlying adaptive shifts in spectral sensitivity remain largely unexplored. Using in vivo photochemistry, optophysiology, and in vitro functional assays, we link variation in eye spectral sensitivity at long wavele...
Article
Although best known for its extraordinary radiations of endemic plant species, the South African fynbos is home to a great diversity of phytophagous insects, including butterflies in the genus Chrysoritis (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). These butterflies are remarkably uniform morphologically; nevertheless, they comprise 43 currently accepted species an...
Article
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Wind is a critical factor in the ecology of pollinating insects such as bees. However, the role of wind in determining patterns of bee abundance and floral visitation rates across space and time is not well understood. Orchid bees are an important and diverse group of neotropical pollinators that harvest pollen, nectar and resin from plants. In add...
Article
Full-text available
Characteristics of host species can alter how other, interacting species assemble into communities by acting as ecological filters. Pitchers of tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes) host diverse communities of aquatic arthropods and microbes in nature. This plant genus exhibits considerable interspecific diversity in morphology and physiology; for ex...
Preprint
Full-text available
Protected areas are central to meeting biodiversity conservation goals, but measuring their effectiveness is challenging. We address this challenge by using DNA from leech-ingested bloodmeals to estimate vertebrate occupancies across the 677 km ² Ailaoshan reserve in Yunnan, China. 163 park rangers collected 30,468 leeches from 172 patrol areas. We...
Article
Full-text available
The wings of Lepidoptera contain a matrix of living cells whose function requires appropriate temperatures. However, given their small thermal capacity, wings can overheat rapidly in the sun. Here we analyze butterfly wings across a wide range of simulated environmental conditions, and find that regions containing living cells are maintained at coo...
Preprint
Full-text available
The wings of Lepidoptera contain a matrix of living cells whose function requires appropriate temperatures. However, given their small thermal capacity, wings can overheat rapidly in the sun. Here we analyze butterfly wings across a wide range of simulated environmental conditions, and find that regions containing living cells are maintained at coo...
Article
Devil’s gardens are a remarkable feature of Amazonian rainforests. These clearings result from the cultivation of ant-plants by their symbiotic ant, Myrmelachista schumanni. Each devil’s garden is inhabited by a single M. schumanni colony, often with millions of workers and thousands of queens. Through a combination of field surveys and microsatell...
Article
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The discovery of novel antibiotics to tackle the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance is impeded by difficulties in accessing the full biosynthetic potential of microorganisms. The development of new tools to unlock the biosynthesis of cryptic bacterial natural products will greatly increase the repertoire of natural product scaffolds. Here,...
Article
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A new species of ghost moth, Thitarodes shambalaensissp. nov. , is described from Yanzigou glacier, Mt. Gongga, Sichuan, China. The species is a host of the economically important caterpillar fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis . Establishment of this new species is supported by morphology and genetic differentiation measured in a CO1 phylogeny and in g...
Preprint
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Most clinical antibiotics are derived from actinomycete natural products (NPs) discovered at least 60 years ago. Repeated rediscovery of known compounds led the pharmaceutical industry to largely discard microbial NPs as a source of new chemical diversity but advances in genome sequencing revealed that these organisms have the potential to make man...
Preprint
Full-text available
Wind is a critical factor in the ecology of pollinating insects such as bees. However, the role of wind in determining patterns of bee abundance and floral visitation rates across space and time is not well understood. Orchid bees are an important and diverse group of neotropical pollinators that harvest pollen, nectar and resin from plants. In add...
Article
Full-text available
Birdwing butterflies are a monophyletic group of swallowtail butterflies (Papilionidae) protected by national and international laws and often serve as flagships of insect conservation. Selecting the Golden Birdwing (Troides aeacus) as an example, we demonstrate an effective way to simultaneously record the activity of multiple birdwing butterflies...
Article
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Knowing what animals eat is fundamental to our ability to understand and manage biodiversity and ecosystems, but researchers often must rely on indirect methods to infer trophic position and food intake. Using an approach that combines evidence from stable isotope analysis and DNA metabarcoding, we assessed the diet and trophic position of Anthene...
Article
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Exotic invasive species can influence the behavior and ecology of native and resident species, but these changes are often overlooked. Here we hypothesize that the ghost ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum, living in areas that have been invaded by the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, displays behavioral differences to interspecific competition...
Article
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The association between the African ant plant, Vachellia drepanolobium, and the ants that inhabit it has provided insight into the boundaries between mutualism and parasitism, the response of symbioses to environmental perturbations, and the ecology of species coexistence. We use a landscape genomics approach at sites sampled throughout the range o...
Article
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Background: Butterflies (Papilionoidea) are perhaps the most charismatic insect lineage, yet phylogenetic relationships among them remain incompletely studied and controversial. This is especially true for skippers (Hesperiidae), one of the most species-rich and poorly studied butterfly families. Methods: To infer a robust phylogenomic hypothesi...
Preprint
The association between the African ant plant, Vachellia drepanolobium, and the ants that inhabit it has provided insight into the boundaries between mutualism and parasitism, the response of symbioses to environmental perturbations, and the ecology of species coexistence. We use a landscape genomics approach at sites sampled throughout the range o...
Article
Full-text available
Neonicotinoid pesticides can negatively affect bee colonies, but the behavioral mechanisms by which these compounds impair colony growth remain unclear. Here, we investigate imidacloprid’s effects on bumblebee worker behavior within the nest, using an automated, robotic platform for continuous, multicolony monitoring of uniquely identified workers....
Article
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The emergence of eusociality represents a major evolutionary transition from solitary to group reproduction. The most commonly studied eusocial species, honey bees and ants, represent the behavioral extremes of social evolution but lack close relatives that are non-social. Unlike these species, the halictid bee Lasioglossum albipes produces both so...