Kate Montana is a graduate student researcher in the arachnology lab at the California Academy of Sciences. She is advised by Dr. Lauren Esposito and is working toward her master's degree in integrative biology at San Francisco State University. Her research utilizes morphological and molecular data to revise the evolutionary relationships between genera in a family of small brown spiders, Dictynidae.
My specialty is the systematics and evolution of solitary wasps family Sphecidae since 1955. In addition to minor papers, I have published essential monographs of Palearctic Tachytes (1962), Palearctic Tachysphex (1971), Palearctic Ammatomus (1973), Neotropical Tachysphex (1974), Australian Tachysphex (1977), Old World Parapiagetia (1977), World Prosopigastra (1979), North American Tachysphex (1988), World Kohliella (1991), World Holotachysphex (1992), World Gastrosericus (1995), African Tachysphex (2007), a book of 698 pages, world Palarini (2008, coauthored with Michael A.
My research focuses on improving the tree of life for arthropods. Weevils (Curculionidae) are my focal taxon of choice. Weevils have specialized ecological habits, such as feeding on fungi, seeds, pollen, wood, roots and even kangaroo dung, weevils make an excellent system to study the evolution of different ecomorphologies. Currently I am focusing my efforts on whole genome sequencing and functional genomics in the genus Pachyrhynchus as well in the Cryptorhynchinae.
Encyrtidae of California
The Encyrtidae (Hymenoptera) comprise one of the most important groups of insects used for the biological control of economic pests. However there has never been a systematic attempt to characterize the Nearctic fauna. As a preliminary to such a study, I am compiling a checklist of the species found in California, including both native species as well as those established here in biocontrol programs.