The Graduate Program in

Sevan Suni

Darwin Postdoctoral Fellow

BA, Colorado College, 2004
PhD, Stanford University, 2009
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Insect Science, University of Arizona, 2009 - 2012

Research Interests

I am interested in the effects of ecology and environmental change on genetic variation, and the application of population genetic information to conservation. At present I am investigating the genetic responses of Euglossine bee (orchid bee) populations to habitat fragmentation. Previous work has shown that Euglossine bee abundance declines in fragmented habitats. I seek to determine how habitat loss affects genetic diversity. In bee populations with low genetic diversity, individuals that would otherwise develop into females instead develop into sterile diploid males, because of the unique mode of sex determination in bees. I am investigating (1) the scale of gene flow and population structure in continuous forest and across habitat discontinuities (2) how genetic diversity, abundance, and diploid male load differ between large tracts of intact forest and highly fragmented areas and (3) how these factors differ among species, generalist and specialist bees, and how these factors vary with bee body size.


Suni, S.S., and Brosi, B.J. 2011. Population genetics of orchid bees in a fragmented tropical landscape. Conservation Genetics, DOI 10.1007/s10592-011-0284-z.

Suni, S.S., and Eldakar, O.T. 2011. High mating frequency and variation with lineage ratio in dependent-lineage harvester ants. Insectes Sociaux DOI: 10.1007/s00040-011-0150-5.

Souza, R.O., Del Lama, M.A., Cervini, M., Mortari, N., Eltz, T., Zimmermann, Y., Bach, C., Brosi, B.J., Suni, S.S., Quezada-Euán, J.G., and Paxton R.J. 2010. Conservation genetics of neotropical pollinators revisited: microsatellite analysis suggests that diploid males are rare in orchid bees. Evolution DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01052.x

Suni, S.S., and Gordon, D.M. 2009. Fine-scale genetic structure and dispersal distance in the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus. Heredity 104: 168-173

Schwander, T.S., Cahan, S.H., Suni, S.S., and Keller, L. 2008. Mechanisms of reproductive isolation between an ant species of hybrid origin and its parents. Evolution 62: 1635-1643.

Suni, S.S., Gignoux, C., and Gordon, D.M. 2007. Male parentage in dependent-lineage populations of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex barbatus, Molecular Ecology 16: 5149-5155.