Michael S. Brewer, II, Ph.D.


Born in Amarillo, Texas and raised in the West Virginia town of New Haven on the banks of the Ohio River, I became interested in the natural world at a relatively young age. While always being somewhat of a naturalist throughout childhood, my exposure to evolutionary theory did not come until college.

While attending Marshall University, I began working in the lab of Dr. Victor Fet. During my time as an undergraduate, I worked on the systematics of the European scorpion genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876. I continued in Dr. Fet’s lab and attained my master’s degree for discovering novel microanaomical structures and developing their usefulness in scorpion systematic research.

To further my training, I enrolled at East Carolina University after being accepted as a Ph.D. student by Dr. Jason Bond. I studied the high-level systematics of the millipedes (Arthropoda: Myriapoda: Diplopoda) using a combination of molecular data from both the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes along with analyses of the historical trends in millipede taxonomy.

After my Ph.D., I worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley in Rosemary Gillespie’s lab. I investigated the genetic changes associated with several phenotypes in the adaptive radiation of Hawaiian Tetragnatha (Araneae: Tetragnathidae).

I am currently an Assistant Professor of Biology at East Carolina University continuing my research on the evolutionary genomics and systematics of arachnids and myriapods. My current projects include the evolution of venoms in Tetragnatha spiders, the genetic basis of color evolution in spiders and millipedes, and arthropod associated microbiomes. I am also part of an ongoing Dimensions of Biodiversity NSF project looking into the processes of colonization using Hawaiian arthropod taxa.

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All photos herein © Michael Brewer unless otherwise noted.