Caroline S. Chaboo



Caroline S. Chaboo
Insect Research and Conservation Institute
Lawrence, KS, 66047


University of Nebraska State Museum
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
W-436 Nebraska Hall
Lincoln, NE 68583-0514


My research focuses on the biology, behavior and systematics of chrysomelid leaf beetles. My recent activity has focused on a systematic inventory of chrysomelids and their host plants in Peru, on phylogenetic systematics and evolution of particular subfamilies, and on documenting biology of species. These projects discover and integrate data from beetle life history, host plant choices, and insect defenses towards more refined phylogenetic relationships, improved classification, and better understanding of evolutionary patterns, e.g., host plant choice, defense constructions, morphology, and subsociality.

2005  Ph.D., Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca (Co-advisors: Q.D. Wheeler & D. Grimaldi)
1995  M.A., Entomology, University of Kansas, Lawrence (Advisor: J.S. Ashe)
1987   B.Sc., Zoology & Botany, University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago

Previous Academic Appointments:
1995-1997  Scientific Assistant, Diptera and Insect fossil collections, American Museum of Natural History — Invertebrate Zoology
1992-1993  Curatorial Assistant, University of Kansas, Snow Entomology Museum
1989-1992  Collections Conservation Assistant, American Museum of Natural History  — Invertebrate Zoology
1995-1997 Curatorial Assistant, Entomology & General Collections, University of the West Indies — Zoology

I am a systematist with specialization in chrysomelid leaf beetles. Chrysomelidae (∼40000 species) forms one of the largest radiation of animals, and they present many interesting research problems. The significant gap in knowledge of chrysomelid evolutionary relationships motivates my effort to collect the total data of individual species, develop character hypotheses that can be tested in phylogeny reconstruction, and help build strong classifications. My approach is holistic, with extensive fieldwork to explore life histories, ecology, behavior, and laboratory study of morphology and molecules. I also have an interest in ethno-entomology, with projects on African poison-arrow beetles and the natural history of indigenous dyes.

Current Research Topics:
Diversity and community structure of arthropods in amazonian Peru.
Biology of immature stages of Chrysomelidae
Origin and diversification of subsociality in Chrysomelidae..
Construction of domiciles and defensive shields.
Tri-trophic interactions between host plants, chrysomelid herbivores, and their carabid beetle parasitoids.

Please download pdfs of my publications at Research Gate.

Major Grants Awarded:

2015 NSF-EAGER. “Integrating phylogeny and ecology to investigate evolution of anti-predator defenses in tortoise beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae).” PI: CS Chaboo; Co-PIs K. Keefover-Ring, A. Trillo.

2015 University of Kansas, Commons Seed Grant. “Indigenous natural dyes of the Sacred Valley, Andean Peru.” PI: MA Jordan, Co-PI CS Chaboo.

2015 KU-UCR Research Development fund. “Community structure and ecological interactions within plant communities of Costa Rican forests.” PI: CS Chaboo; Co-PIs M. Fernández Otárola, and P. Hanson, University of Costa Rica.

2011-2015 NSF-ABDC TCN EF-1115080: Collaborative Research: Plants, Herbivores, and Parasitoids:  A Model System for the study of Tri-Trophic Associations; PI Schuh, R.T. et al.

2011-2013 NSF-DBI Award DBI-1057366: A specimen-level database of the world’s bees (Apoidea) at the University of Kansas. PI Engel, M.S., Co-PI C.S. Chaboo, Co-PI Z.H. Falin, & Co-PI A.E.Z. Short.

2010-2011 NSF Kansas-EPSCoR First Awards 66928: Phylogenetic Research in the hyperdiverse leaf beetle family, Chrysomelidae (Coleoptera); PI Chaboo CS.

Honors and Awards:
2011 150 influential Kansas scientists, Ad Astra Kansas
2008 Jean Theodore Lacordaire Prize, Best publication from Ph.D. research, Coleopterists Society
2005 Snodgrass Memorial Prize, Ph.D. research in Morphology, Entomological Society of America
2002 Paper of the Year, Coleopterists Society
2001 2nd Place, Student presentations in Morphology, Systematics and Evolution, Entomological Society of America
1987 1st Place, Zoology Field Course, University of the West Indies, Trinidad

Major Field Experience:
Africa: South Africa (2006; 2005); Botswana (2006); Namibia (2007). Caribbean: Dominican Republic (2003; 2002); Guadeloupe (989), Trinidad and Tobago. Central America: Nicaragua (2005); Costa Rica (2000; 1993; 2015; 2016); Panama ( 1993). South America: French Guiana (1996); Venezuela (1992); Peru (2007; 2008; 2010; 2011; 2012; 2013; 2014; 2015). Austral-Asia: Thailand (1992), Australia (2004); North America: USA: California, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

Collections Research:
National Insect Collection, Pretoria, South Africa
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, USA
Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, Costa Rica
National Museum, Costa Rica
Zoological Museum Copenhagen, Denmark
Zoological Museum, University of Manchester, UK
The Museum of Natural History, London, UK
Cornell University Insect Collection, USA
National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C., USA
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada
Snow Entomological Museum, University of Kansas, USA
Museum of San Marcos University, Lima, Peru
L’Institut National de la Recherche Agronomie, Guadeloupe, France
University of the West Indies collection, Trinidad
CAB International collection, Trinidad
University of Maracay collection, Venezuela
Museum fur Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany

Professional Societies:
Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Coleopterists Society
Entomological Society of America
Hennig Society
Kansas Entomomological Society (Central States Entomological Society)
New York Entomological Society
Sigma Xi
Society of Systematic Biologist

Postdoctoral Fellows:
Dr. Daniel Bennett (2011-2012)
currently Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biology, Stephen Austin State University, TX

Lab Managers:
Dr. Mathew Gimmel (2011-2012)
currently Curator of Entomology, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, CA

Visiting Scholars:
Ms. Sarah Hirschey (2015)
Dr. Mauricio Fernandez Otarola (2015)
Ms. Sara Lopez (2012, 2015)
Dr. Alessandro Catenazzi (2014, 2015)
Dr. William Shepard (2014)
Mrs. Cheryl Barr (2014)
Dr. Michael Sharkey (2014)
Dr. Quentin Wheeler (2014)
Dr. Jennifer Zaspel (2013)
Dr. Patricia Alvarez (2011)
Dr. Fred Vencl, Stony Brook University (2011)
Dr. Muhammed Haseeb (2011)
Dr. Michael Schmitt (2011)
Dr. Shawn Clark (2010)
Mr. Luis Figueroa (2012)
Dr. Mary Liz Jameson (2012)
Dr. R. Wills Flowers (2010, 2011)

Graduate Students:
Mr. Chul woo Shin (2009-2012), currently in Ph.D. program at University of Kansas
Mrs. Mabel Alvarado (2011-2013), currently in Ph.D. program at University of Kansas
Mrs. Sofia Muñoz (2012-2014), currently in Ph.D. program at Clemson University
Ms. Marianna Simoes (2012-2013), currently in Ph.D. program at University of Kansas

Graduate research assistants:
Shan-hui Su (2011)
Yong-chao Su (2011)
Chul woo Shin (2010-2011)
Michael Andersen (2011)
Carolina Pardo (2013, KU Educational Technologies)
Carey Bowen (2014)

Undergraduate Students:
Luke Schletzbaum (2016-2017)
Fernando Andrade (2013), currently at Encompass Medical Group, KC
Eric D. Becker (2015-present)
Nield A. Buitrago (2013; volunteer)
Michael French (2010)
Josh Cunningham, Haskell Indian Nations University (2012)
Haley Fetters-Crouch (2012-present), currently at Lawrence Paper Company, KS
Timo Foerster, University of Greiswald, Germany (2012-2013), currently graduate student in Vienna, Austria
Gray Gustafson (2009-2010), presently in Ph.D. program, University of New Mexico, NM
Lydia Adubea Gyamfi (2013-2014), currently in KU Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
Joe J. Jalinsky (2010-present), presently in Ph.D. program, Iowa State University
William Kilbel (2010; volunteer)
Mary “Holly” Lafferty (2013), currently in Ph.D. at Colorado State University, CO
Sameera Mangena (2010; volunteer)
Paige Miller (2014-present), currently at Menorah Medical Center, KC
Reed S. Niemack (2010)
Zane O’Brien (2015)
Vivek N. Patel (2015-present)
Shayna Poole (2010-2013), currently at Boeing, OK
Tom A. Radocy (2011), presently at Melbourne University, Australia
Jesica Rhodes (2009-2010), presently school teacher in Topeka, KS
Aimee Roberts (2010-2013)
Anssi Santanen (2011; volunteer), currently in Graduate program in Molecular Medicine, University of Toledo, OH
Racheal Sites (2013-2014)
Nick Strange (2015)
Riley Wertenberger (2011), currently at XenoTech, KS
Kaitlyn West  (2010 – 2012)
Emily Wilcox (2010)
Helen Jin (2010), currently in Boston Medical School, Boston, MA