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Bareena Silverman
Ph.D. Student
Office: Marshak 819
Email: bareena.silverman[at]
Curriculum Vitae
Research Video

I am interested in the evolutionary history of Elymnias, a Southeast Asian butterfly genus. This little-studied group is a good model system for studying the evolution of sexually dimorphic wing morphology, the evolution of visual mimicry, and Old World biogeography.

Elymnias consists primarily of Batesian mimics of toxic butterfly models. Models come from many different genera, and there are a wide variety of wing shapes, sizes, and color patterns among model species, resulting in similar differences in Elymnias. Some Elymnias populations even have sexually dimorphic mimicry, with males mimicking one model and females mimicking another. The questions I am interested in answering with my research include:
  1. How many times, and in which lineage(s), did sexually dimorphic wing morphology arise?
  2. Did particular types of mimetic wing morphologies evolve convergently within Elymnias?
  3. How long did it take for different wing morphotypes to evolve?

The distribution of Elymnias is concentrated in Southeast Asia and Australia, with peripheral species found as far west as Africa. The combination of range size variation in the genus and ease of collection makes Elymnias a good system for studying Southeast Asian biogeography. The questions I am interested in include:
  1. Are morphological shifts more frequent in sympatry than in allopatry?
  2. What is the role of changing sea levels, tectonic shifts, and accreting/dividing land masses in the generation of extant South Asian insect biogeography?

The first step in addressing these questions is establishing a phylogeny of the genus, which has never been revised. Once cryptic species have been identified, the evolutionary history of the genus has been reconstructed, and dates of divergence have been estimated, male and female wing patterns will be traced along the phylogeny. The geographic range for each species will also be laid over the phylogeny, and dates of divergence will be correlated with dates of geologic events in Southeast Asia. The phylogeny can therefore both provide a foundation for studying the functional genomics of sex-specific and mimetic wing morphology and shed light on the role of geology in shaping the current biogeography of Southeast Asia.

2010 - Ph.D. in Biology (EEB) (The Graduate Center at CUNY)
2007M.S. in Entomology (Ohio State University)
1999B.S. in Entomology, B.A. in Philosophy (Ohio State University)

2005Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Grant for Kichwa Language and Culture (Tena, Ecuador)
2004FLAS Grant for Portuguese Language and Afro-Brazilian Culture (Salvador, Bahia, Brazil)
2002Ohio Biological Survey Small Project Grant
2001Ohio Biological Survey Small Project Grant

2011 - Graduate Assistant, Department of Biology, City College of New York
2007Biology Instructor, Einstein Enrichment Program, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
2002 - 2006Graduate Teaching Associate, Department of Biology, Ohio State University
2001 - 2002Graduate Teaching Associate, Department of Chemistry, Ohio State University

Silverman, B., Horn, D.J., Purrington, F.F., and Gandhi, K.J.K. 2006. Oil pipeline corridor through an intact forest alters ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) assemblages in Southeastern Ohio, Environmental Entomology 37(3): 725 - 733.

2006Entomological Society of America 2006, Indianapolis, IN
Carabid succession along a corridor through Southeastern Ohio (USA) forest.
Silverman, B.*, Horn, D.J., Purrington, F.F., and Gandhi, K.J.K.
2002Ohio Biological Survey Annual Meeting, Columbus, OH
Assessing the impact of the construction of a coridor through previously intact forest at Deep Woods Farm: a preliminary report.
Silverman, B.*, Horn, D.J., and Purrington, F.F.

Department of Biology :: City College of New York :: City University of New York
Convent Avenue at 138th Street :: New York, NY 10031 USA
Marshak Science Building 802
(212) 650-8588