Brian D. Farrell

Professor of Biology
Curator of Entomology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology
Director, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies

Phone: 617-496-1057
Office: 409 MCZ, 26 Oxford St


Much of our work tests hypotheses concerning the influence of spatial and temporal variation in the availability of habitats or other resources on speciation and the rate of evolution of interspecific interactions. Our data are largely phylogenetic, based on variation in DNA sequences and morphological characters, and our studies vary in focus from principally ecological dimensions of resource use to emphasis on biogeographic or paleontological dimensions. Our general goal to understand the interplay of adaptation and historical contingency in ecological and taxonomic diversification, as well as the marks of evolutionary history on community structure. The context of nearly all of our studies is the interaction between insects and plants, ecological associates whose diversity and abundance make them the principal denizens of the terrestrial earth.

Recent Publications

Catherine R. Linnen and Brian D. Farrell. 2007. Mitonuclear Discordance is Caused by Rampant Mitochondrial Introgression in Neodiprion (Hymenoptera: Diprionidae) Sawflies. Evolution 61-6: 1417–1438.

McKenna D. D. , & B. D. Farrell. 2006. Tropical forests are both evolutionary cradles and museums of leaf beetle diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 103 (29): 10947-10951.

Nyman, T., A.G. Zinovjev, V. Vikberg, and B.D. Farrell. 2006. Molecular phylogeny of the sawfly family Nematinae (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae). Systematic Entomology 31. 569-583.

Nyman, T., B.D. Farrell., A.G. Zinovjev, and V. Vikberg. 2006. Larval habits, host- plant associations, and speciation in Nematine sawflies (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae) Evolution 60(8): 1622-1637.

Smith, C.I. and B.D. Farrell. 2006. Evolutionary consequences of dispersal ability in cactus-feeding insects. Genetica 126: 323-334.

Eastwood, R., S.L. Boyce and B.D. Farrell. 2006. The provenance of old world swallowtail butterflies, Papilio demoleus (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae), recently discovered in the new World. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am 99(1): 164-168.

Smith, C.I. and B.D. Farrell. 2005. Historical biogeography of longhorn cactus beetles: The influence of Pleistocene climate changes on American desert communities. USDA Forest Service Proceedings RMRS-P-36. 135 -139.

McKenna, D.D. and B.D. Farrell. 2005. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution of host plant use in the Neotropical rolled leaf "hispine" beetle genus Cephaloleia (Chevrolat) (Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 37: 117-131.

Smith, C. I. and B.D. Farrell. 2005. Phylogeography of the longhorn cactus beetle Moneilema appressum Leconte (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae): Was the differentiation of the Madrean sky-islands driven by Pleistocene climate changes?. Molecular Ecology. 14: 3049-3065.

Farrell, B. D. 2005. From agronomics to international relations: Building an online encyclopedia of life in the Dominican Republic. Revista: Harvard Review of Latin America. Fall 2004/Winter 2005: 6-9.

Smith, C. I., and B. D. Farrell. 2005. Range expansion in flightless longhorn cactus beetles Moneilema gigas and M. armatum in response to Pleistocene climate changes. Molecular Ecology 14: 1025-1044.

Morse, G. E., and B. D. Farrell. 2005. Interspecific phylogeography of the Stator limbatus species complex: The geographic context of speciation and specialization. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36 (2005) 201–213.

Morse, G. E., and B. D. Farrell. 2005. Ecological and evolutionary diversification of the seed beetle genus Stator. Evolution 59: 1315-1333.

Lefevre, C., H. Charles, A. Vallier, B. Delobel, B. Farrell, and A. Heddi. 2004. Endosymbiont phlyogenesis in the Dryophthoridae weevils: Evidence for bacterial replacement. Molecular Biology and Evolution 21: 965-973.

Guerrero, K. A., D. Veloz, S. L. Boyce, and B. D. Farrell. 2004. First New World documentation of an Old World citrus pest, the Lime Swallowtail Papilio demoleus (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae), in the Dominican Republic (Hispaniola). American Entomologist 50:224-226.

Farrell, B. D., and A. S. Sequeira. 2004. Evolutionary rates in the adaptive radiation of beetles on plants. Evolution 58:1984-2001.

Courses Taught

OEB 156: Tropical Insect Systematics

OEB 10: Foundations of Biological Diversity

BIOL S-158: Biodiversity of Hispaniola


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