530th Monthly Meeting
October 21st, 2016
Manchester Community College
All monthly meetings are open to the public. If you are interested in insects, please join us! Members may bring exhibits for show-and-tell. If you have photos, video, or other media to share, please email the society at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- 7:30pm, Manchester Community College (MCC)
- Great Path Academy 2nd floor, room GP203 – Community Commons
- Driving directions to MCC are here: https://www.manchestercc.edu/about/maps-directions/driving-directions/
- At the conclusion of the meeting, attendees are invited to an informal social hour at Brigette Zacharczenko’s house (Approx. 5 min. from MCC. Directions will be provided at meeting). Those interested are encouraged to bring their favorite fall beer or wine
- 6:30pm, Pizza will be provided in room GP203 – Community Commons
- A donation of $5 per person will be appreciated
Speaker: Dr. Matthew Graham, Eastern Connecticut State University
Title: Assembling the Mojave Desert arachnid fauna: Biogeographic insights from scorpions, tarantulas, and camel spiders
Abstract: The deserts of the North American Southwest are quickly emerging as a testing ground for assessing the capability of modern science to reconstruct the history and assembly of entire biotas. A complex tectonic history has produced a diverse arthropod fauna that radiated and adapted to the region’s extreme climates and changing landscapes. In particular, arid-adapted arachnids exhibit striking levels of diversity and endemism in the southwestern deserts, yet many groups are still poorly understood. Dr. Graham seeks to close this knowledge gap by integrating molecular (DNA) approaches, predictive (climatic) modeling, and morphology. His talk will outline our understanding of the assembly of the southwestern desert biota from the perspective of new data from giant hairy scorpions, tarantulas, and other arachnids. Dr. Graham and his colleagues have discovered several ancient but cryptic lineages most likely generated as Neogene extensional tectonics and Pleistocene climate fluctuations repeatedly fragmented desert arachnid populations. He proposes that the low dispersal capabilities of many arachnids make them especially vulnerable to landscape perturbations and climate change, and thus ideal organisms for investigating the history and future of biodiversity in the North American arid lands.
BIO: Dr. Matthew Graham is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU). Dr. Graham began studying scorpions as an undergraduate at Marshall University where he holds a BS and MS in Biology. He continued his work on scorpions while completing a PhD in Biology at the University of Nevada, in Las Vegas. Dr. Graham’s doctoral research focused on understanding how desert scorpions responded to historical changes in landscapes and climates. He continues his research on desert scorpions at ECSU where he initiated a global field course on desert ecology and biogeography. Dr. Graham joined the faculty at ECSU in August of 2013.
For a preview of Dr. Graham’s work and the creatures he works with, visit