About me

Brigette Zacharczenko

Origins:

My fascination with insects is mostly my father’s fault. He wanted to be an entomologist, but ended up choosing a different career path. Always the naturalist, however, he endeavored to teach me as much as he could.

From my father I learned how to wield a butterfly net, how to pin and spread butterflies and moths, and how to properly label and display them. Every summer day of my childhood was spent with my net in hand, either for insects or for frogs (it was a bad day for the butterfly that I spotted after catching frogs).

I knew I wanted to be an entomologist as soon as I learned what the word meant. In third grade we had a career day, during which we had to dress up as what we wanted to be when we grew up. Most of my friends wore stethoscopes or fireman’s hats… I showed up wearing my favorite bug shirt, carrying my trusty butterfly net, and wearing a pin that said “Entomologist”.

 

At Present:

I am a graduate student at UConn studying the evolution of complex characters in caterpillars and adult moths. I am primarily focused on the phylogenetics and larval setae evolution of the subfamily Acronictinae, caterpillar behavioral defenses, and the evolution of hair pencil secondary sex characters in the family Noctuidae.

Education:

McGill University
2006 – 2010
BSc in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Major: Applied Zoology

University of Connecticut
2010 – present
Doctoral Candidate
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Academic interests:

Primarily invertebrate evolution, taxonomy, systematics, and behavior. I have a strong desire to use morphology, DNA, and biogeography to tell stories about how organisms evolved. I also have a passion for evolution in general, herpetology, paleontology, and debunking of the supernatural.

Hobbies:

Wandering through the woods looking for bugs, sewing, knitting, scientific illustration, macro photography, powerlifting, cooking, caring for my pets (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and of course invertebrates).

Connecticut Entomological Society

Promoting insect research, conservation, and outreach

Ryerson Lab

Functional Morphology and Biomechanics

Saurian Obsessions

Life, love, and limb-reduced fossorial skinks

I spell it nature

Trying to make sense of the world through science and language.

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