David H. Hembry




BA, Harvard University, Biology (2003)

Research Interests

Codiversification of a plant-insect mutualism in the Pacific

Research Description

I am interested in the role of coevolution (reciprocal natural selection) in generating biological diversity. Although biodiversity (especially in the tropics) is often attributed to extreme ecological specialization and coevolution, we have a poor understanding of the mechanisms by which coevolution might contribute to speciation and higher-level diversification. To address these questions, my dissertation research focuses on the phylogenetics of Epicephala moths (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) and Glochidion trees (Phyllanthaceae; Euphorbiaceae sensu lato) in the Pacific islands. The obligate mutualism between Epicephala and Glochidion is similar to the better-known mutualisms between fig wasps and figs, or between yucca moths and yuccas. Epicephala females actively pollinate Glochidion flowers and then lay their eggs in the flowers’ ovaries, so that their larvae feed on the developing seeds (Kato et al. 2003 PNAS). These mutualist partners show extremely high species specificity, such that to a first approximation, each Glochidion species relies on only one or two Epicephala species, and vice versa (Kawakita and Kato 2006 Mol. Ecol.).

I am a member of Rosemary Gillespie's lab. This research is conducted in collaboration with Bruce Baldwin (UC Berkeley), Atsushi Kawakita (Kyoto University), Tomoko Okamoto (Kyoto University), Makoto Kato (Kyoto University), Mark Schmaedick (American Samoa Community College), and Jean-Yves Meyer (Délégation à la Recherche, French Polynesia).

Selected Publications

Hembry, D.H., T. Okamoto, G. McCormack, and R.G. Gillespie. In review. Phytophagous insect community assembly through niche conservatism on oceanic islands. Submitted to Journal of Biogeography

Hembry, D.H., T. Okamoto, and R.G. Gillespie. 2011. Repeated colonization of remote islands by specialized mutualists.  Biology Letters, published online before print. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0771

Hembry, D.H., N. Katayama, M.K. Hojo, and T. Ohgushi. 2006. Herbivory damage does not indirectly influence the composition or excretion of aphid honeydew. Population Ecology 48: 245-250.

Recent Teaching

  • C107 - Biology and Geomorphology of Tropical Islands

Contact Information

Email: hembry@berkeley.edu

Office: 209 Wellman

Office Phone: 510-642-5114


Research Group(s)

Mailing Address

Dept of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
UC Berkeley
130 Mulford Hall #3114
Berkeley, CA 94720