Hannah WoodResearch Entomologist and Curator of Arachnida and Myriapoda
My research focuses on the evolution of morphological diversity and I take several different approaches to address questions about trait evolution over time and space.1. First, phylogenetics forms the foundation of my research: a phylogeny is a necessary component of my research so that phylogenetic history can be corrected for during statistical analysis of trait evolution.
2. Next, my research explores the link between form and function, which is crucial to understanding how morphological diversification occurs. Morphological diversity may be redundant in relation to function, that is, different morphological solutions may evolve to produce similar performance, yet, to test this hypothesis it needs to be determined exactly how form relates to function.
3. I make use of an excellent opportunity, the extensive fossil record in my study system, to examine shifts in morphological diversity and disparity over time.
4. Finally, the study of morphological evolution is confounded by distribution patterns. As part of my research, I examine the interplay between trait evolution and biogeography patterns.
The focus of my research is mostly on a group of unusual spiders, the palpimanoids, which have restricted distributions, exhibit strikingly deviant morphological, behavioral, and ecological traits, and are ancient lineages with an extensive fossil record. This group is excellent for addressing questions about how a specific trait functions, which in turn, may allow for examination of broader macroevolution questions about how these traits (as well as lineages) diversify. In particular, I am interested in the evolution of novel modifications of the cephalic area (the carapace) and chelicerae (“jaws”) within palpimanoids, which allow them to capture prey in innovative ways. While my research has focused on spiders, the questions I ask are universal to the field of evolutionary biology and can be applied to any organism.
- Chousou-Polydouri, Natalia, Carmichael, Anthea, Szuts, Tamas, Saucedo, Alma, Gillespie, Rosemary, Griswold, Charles, and Wood, Hannah M. 2019. "Giant Goblins above the waves at the southern end of the world: The biogeography of the spider family Orsolobidae (Araneae, Dysderoidea)." Journal of Biogeography 46 (2):332–342. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13487
- Wood, Hannah M. and Parkinson, Dilworth Y. 2019. "Comparative morphology of cheliceral muscles using high-resolution X-ray microcomputed-tomography in palpimanoid spiders (Araneae, Palpimanoidea)." Journal of Morphology 280 (2):232–243. https://doi.org/10.1002/jmor.20939
- Wood, Hannah M., González, Vanessa L., Lloyd, Michael, Coddington, Jonathan, and Scharff, Nikolaj. 2018. "Next-Generation museum genomics: phylogenetic relationships among palpimanoid spiders using sequence capture techniques (Araneae: Palpimanoidea)." Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 127:907–918. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2018.06.038
- Wood, Hannah M. and Scharff, Nikolaj. 2018. "A review of the Madagascan pelican spiders of the genera Eriauchenius O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1881 and Madagascarchaea gen. n. (Araneae, Archaeidae)." Zookeys (727): 1–96. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.727.20222
- Wheeler, Ward C., Coddington, Jonathan A., Crowley, Louise M., Dimitrov, Dimitar, Goloboff, Pablo A., Griswold, Charles E., Hormiga, Gustavo, Prendini, Lorenzo, Ramírez, Martín J., Sierwald, Petra, Almeida-Silva, Lina, Alvarez-Padilla, Fernando, Arnedo, Miquel A., Benavides Silva, Ligia R., Benjamin, Suresh P., Bond, Jason E., Grismado, Cristian J., Hasan, Emile, Hedin, Marshal, Izquierdo, Matías A., Labarque, Facundo M., Ledford, Joel, Lopardo, Lara, Maddison, Wayne P., Miller, Jeremy A. et al. 2017. "The spider tree of life: phylogeny of Araneae based on target-gene analyses from an extensive taxon sampling." Cladistics 33 (6):574–616. https://doi.org/10.1111/cla.12182
- Wood, Hannah M. 2017. "Integrating fossil and extant lineages: an examination of morphological space through time (Araneae: Archaeidae)." Journal of Arachnology 45 (1):20–29. https://doi.org/10.1636/JoA-S-16-039.1
- Wood, Hannah M., Parkinson, Dilworth Y, Griswold, Charles E, Gillespie, Rosemary G, and Elias, Damian O. 2016. "Repeated Evolution of Power-Amplified Predatory Strikes in Trap-Jaw Spiders." Current Biology 26 (8):1057–1061. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2016.02.029
- Wood, Hannah M., Gillespie, Rosemary G., Griswold, Charles E., and Wainwright, Peter C. 2015. "Why is Madagascar special? The extraordinarily slow evolution of pelican spiders (Araneae, Archaeidae): MADAGASCAR ARCHAEID SPIDERS." Evolution 69 (2):462–481. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.12578
- Wood, Hannah M., Matzke, Nicholas J., Gillespie, Rosemary G., and Griswold, Charles E. 2013. "Treating Fossils as Terminal Taxa in Divergence Time Estimation Reveals Ancient Vicariance Patterns in the Palpimanoid Spiders." Systematic Biology 62 (2):264–284. https://doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/sys092
- Griswold, Charles E., Wood, Hannah M., and Carmichael, Anthea D. 2012. "The lace web spiders (Araneae, Phyxelididae) of Madagascar: phylogeny, biogeography and taxonomy: Phyxelidid Spiders." Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 164 (4):728–810. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2011.00779.x
- Wood, Hannah M., Griswold, Charles E., and Gillespie, Rosemary G. 2012. "Phylogenetic placement of pelican spiders (Archaeidae, Araneae), with insight into evolution of the “neck” and predatory behaviours of the superfamily Palpimanoidea." Cladistics 28 (6):598–626. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-0031.2012.00411.x
- Wood, Hannah M. 2008. "A revision of the assassin spiders of the Eriauchenius gracilicollis group, a clade of spiders endemic to Madagascar (Araneae: Archaeidae)." Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 152 (2):255–296. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2007.00359.x
- Wood, Hannah M., Griswold, Charles E., and Spicer, Greg S. 2007. "Phylogenetic relationships within an endemic group of Malagasy ‘assassin spiders’ (Araneae, Archaeidae): ancestral character reconstruction, convergent evolution and biogeography." Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 45 (2):612–619. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2007.07.012