Michael R. Canfield
My research investigates the evolution of flexible developmental pathways in geometrid caterpillars, or, to put it simply, how the camouflage forms of caterpillars can be determined by what they eat. I teach courses on insect biology and mimicry in Harvard’s Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, where I earned my Ph.D. under Naomi E. Pierce in 2006.
In addition to my continuing research on the evolutionary biology of insects, I think widely about issues in the study of natural history, and am fascinated by the history of biological exploration and how scientists and naturalists record work in their field notes. I also do a good bit of undergraduate academic advising at Eliot House at Harvard, where I serve as Dean.
OEB155r. Biology of Insects (fall).
FS21q. Biological Impostors: Camouflage and Mimicry in nature (spring).
Canfield, M. and N. Pierce. 2010. Facultative mimicry? The evolutionary significance of seasonal forms in some Indoaustralian pierids. Tropical Lepidoptera Research: 20:1-7.
Canfield, M., Chang, S. and N. Pierce. 2009. The double cloak of invisibility: phenotypic plasticity and larval decoration in Synchlora frondaria across three diet treatments. Ecological Entomology 34: 412-414.
Canfield, M. and E. Greene. 2009. Polyphenism and semantic plasticity: a historical account with a recommendation. In: Whitman D. J. and T. N. Ananthakrishnan, eds. Phenotypic Plasticity in Insects: Mechanisms and Consequences. Enfield, NH, Science Publishers. p. 135-146.
Greene, E., Canfield M. and A. Ehmer. 2009. Developmental flexibility, phenotypic plasticity, and host plants: a case study with Nemoria caterpillars. In: Whitman D. J. and T. Ananthakrishnan, eds. Phenotypic Plasticity in Insects: Mechanisms and Consequences. Enfield, NH, Science Publishers. p. 65-80.
Canfield, M., Greene, E., Moreau, C., Chen, N. and N. Pierce. 2008. Exploring Phenotypic Plasticity and Biogeograpy in Emerald Moths: A Phylogeny of the Genus Nemoria (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49: 477-487.
Mathew, J., Travassos, M., Canfield, M., Murawski, D., Kitching, R. and N. Pierce. 2008. The singing reaper: diet, morphology and vibrational signaling in the Nearctic species Feniseca tarquinius (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae: Miletinae). Tropical Lepidoptera Research 18(1): 24-29.