College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology
Alex Aitken Contact Information

Alex Aitken 

Graduate Program: M.S. Thesis

Major Professor: Dr. Duane McKenna

Research Interest

I have always admired the environment of the Mississippi River Valley floodplain forests and adjacent loess plain where I grew up. I continue to be amazed by how dynamic river levels can be (varying by 10+ meters in a year), and how the river interacts with the adjacent floodplain, the vast expanse of trees and streams, and all the wildlife. Since attending the University of Memphis, I have become increasingly fascinated in understanding the diversity of life and evolution with a focus primarily on beetles. With insects making up over 20% of all living things on Earth, I find it insects to be a natural outlet for fueling my passion for understanding the unknown.

I am currently in the process of using a potentially revolutionary technique that could bridge the gap between the traditional DNA capture methods (Sanger's method) and next generation sequencing of entire genomes. This process has been entitled anchored enrichment or phylogenomics (Lemmon and Lemmon). It is with this approach that I am looking to provide strong nodal support for a phylogenetic tree of the number of subfamilies within weevils (Curculionidae, 40,000 + species,).

My other research interest includes being able to get outdoors and enjoy the natural environment, which by the nature of collecting insects also provides me with this opportunity.

       

 

 

 

Email: aaitken@memphis.edu

Office Location: Ellington Hall 322

Spring 2014 Office Hours

Monday - 2:00pm-3:00pm

Wednesday - 2:00pm-3:00pm

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Last Updated: 1/24/14