Chris Simon

Chris Simon in Lake Ohau, NZ





My research focuses on using information on molecular genetic processes to improve evolutionary tree-building (phylogenetics). My lab works at the interface between theory and observations to test newly proposed phylogenetic tree-building models and methods. We use phylogenetic trees to answer questions related to the origin, spread, maintenance, and documentation of biological diversity.

The ultimate goal of my group is to understand speciation, biogeography and interactions at species' contact zones. The information we produce is valuable for taxonomy and conservation biology. This work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, The Fulbright Foundation, The National Geographic Society, the New Zealand Marsden Fund, and the University of Connecticut over the past 30 years. The success of my work has been facilitated by the dedication of many postdoctoral researchers, and graduate/undergraduate students whose names are contained in the author-lists of my publications and on my website.

News (since January 2018)

  • Simon Lab (Jefrin, Mark, Eric, Chris, Johnny, Allegra, Jason, Diler)

May 20th-June20th John Cooley and Chris Simon work with Gene Kritsky, Matt Kasson, Dan Mozgai (@cicadamania), Katie Dana, and Gerry Bunker to map 17-year Brood IX and study 4-year early emerging cicadas. Twitter links: Brood V map, fungus, Cicada Safari map, polyphyletic Brood IX, prime numbers, map of Broods XIX and X emerging early, citizen science.

March 19th Mark Stukel is awarded a Fulbright research grant to go to New Zealand! He will be working with Simon Lab collaborators Thomas Buckley, Alexei Drummond, and Nick Matzke at the University of Auckland from Feb-Nov 2021, studying the systematics and biogeography of NZ and worldwide cicadas!

February 24th The Simon lab is awarded two NSF REU Fellowships.

January 10th Print version appears: Skinner, R. Dietrich, C., Walden, K., Gordon, E. R. L., Sweet, A. Podsiadlowski, L., Petersen, M., Simon, C., Takiya, D., & Johnson, K. Phylogenomics of Auchenorrhyncha (Insecta: Hemiptera) using Transcriptomes: Examining Controversial Relationships via Degeneracy Coding and Interrogation of Gene Conflict. Systematic Entomology. 45 (1), 85-113



December 16th Jason Vailionis is selected as a UConn University Scholar! His research project will be on the genomics of a symbiont replacement event in North American dog-day cicadas.

December 6th Derotettix paper, Version of Record published: Simon, C., Gordon, E. R.L., Moulds, M. S., Cole J., Haji, D., Lemmon A.R., Lemmon E. M., Kortyna,M., Nazario, K.,  Wade E. J., Meister R. C., Goemans G., Chiswell S. M., Pessacq P., Veloso C., McCutcheon, J. P. & Łukasik, P. Off-target capture data, endosymbiont genes and morphology reveal a relict lineage sister to all other singing cicadas. Biological Journal of the Linnaen Society. 128 (4), 865-886. Announcement link, Gif created by undergraduate student Rachel Wolther.

October 5-11th Mark Stukel attends a phylogenomics workshop in Valencia, Spain taught by Jeremy Brown and Bob Thomson.

August 5th Early view published of: Skinner, R. Dietrich, C., Walden, K., Gordon, E. R. L., Sweet, A. Podsiadlowski, L., Petersen, M., Simon, C., Takiya, D., & Johnson, K. Phylogenomics of Auchenorrhyncha (Insecta: Hemiptera) using Transcriptomes: Examining Controversial Relationships via Degeneracy Coding and Interrogation of Gene Conflict. Systematic Entomology. 45 (1), 85-113

August 1st Former Simon Lab undergrad research student Emily Ellis starts a postdoc in Akito Kawahara's lab at the University of Florida, Gainesville, after obtaining her PhD at UC Santa Barbara.

July 26th Diler Haji passes his MS Defense exam today. He leaves for The Whiteman Lab at Berkeley next week!

June 22-23rd Simon lab presents at Evolution 2019.Joint annual meeting.  Providence, RI.

Eric Gordon- Global repeated replacement of bacterial symbionts by fungal pathogens in cicadas.  Eric R Gordon, Piotr Łukasik, Diler Haji, Alan Lemmon, Emily Moriarty Lemmon, John P McCutcheon, and Chris Simon.  Oral presentation.

Diler Haji- Microbial ecology and symbiont replacements within an evolutionary radiation of New Zealand cicadas. Diler Haji, Eric Gordon, Jason Vailionis*, Jefrin Thomas*, and Chris Simon. Oral presentation.

Mark Stukel- Mitochondrial theft: inferring ancient hybridization in New Zealand cicadas using whole mtDNA genomes from hybrid capture by-catch. Mark Stukel, Eric Gordon, Diler Haji, Alan Lemmon, Emily Moriarty Lemmon, and Chris Simon. Oral presentation.

Jason Vailionis- Symbiont replacement in North American cicadas.  Jason Vailionis, Eric Gordon, and Chris Simon.  Poster.

Chris Simon-  An evolving view of phylogenetic support. Society of Systematic Biologists, Symposium. New measures of phylogenetic support for the genomic era. Oral presentation

June 14th Diler Haji public presentation for MS thesis: "Structure and diversity of the microbiota of New Zealand cicadas".
April 26th Johnny Bator passes his BS/MS defense! This summer he will be working for the New Hampshire Fish and Game department tracking the population dynamics of Spotted and Blanding's turtles.

March 30th Former Simon Lab Postdoc Ben Price, Dave Marshall, et al. publish their paper on the phylogeny of the cicada tribe Platypleurini.

March 27th Allegra, Jason and Jefrin win Office of Undergraduate Research supply awards.

March 25th Jason is awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

February 27th Eric's paper on DNA capture from arthropod museum specimens from his former lab at UC Riverside is published.

February 2nd Mark and Diler give research presentations at the EEB Graduate Student Symposium.

January The Simon Lab is awarded two NSF REU Fellowships.



November 11th Diler leaves to attend the Entomological Society of America meeting in Vancouver, BC, where he wins first place in the three-minute talk competition. Way to go Diler!

October 4th Eric gives a presentation at the EEB lecture series.

August 22nd Chris presents a seminar at the University of Hawaii.

August 19th Diler leaves for the Evolution meeting in France.

August 2nd Chris, Diler, John and Dave all go to a Magicicada workshop in Kyoto for a week.

August 3rd Mark Stukel joins the lab!

June Johnny leaves to conduct field work in Canada for two months over the summer.

June Eric leaves to work in the McCutcheon lab in Montana for two months over the summer.

June 15th Diler, Allegra, Jason and Jefrin leave for a Magicicada collecting trip to upstate New York.

May 23rd Cicada Workshop.

May 4th Diler leaves for Yosemite Symbiosis meeting.

April 13th Diane presents a poster at Frontiers.

April 8th Diler gets a Society of Systematic Biology travel grant to go to Evolution in France. Congrats Diler!

March 30th Johnny and Diane present at the Connecticut Entomology Society meeting. Diane gets third place...congrats Diane!

March 9th Diler and Eric go to New Zealand and meet up with Dave Marshall on the South Island to snag some cicadas. View photos here!

February 11th Chris goes to annual New Zealand phylogenomics meeting in Portobello.

January 23rd John, Dave and Kathy's paper on parasite manipulation of Magicicada is published. Press release

January 3rd Chris and Eric join Jeffrey Cole for a trip to Chile and Argentina to catch cicadas for two weeks. You can view some photos of the trip on our media page.

January 1st Eric Gordon joins the lab.