I am curator of the Cornell University Insect Collection, and therefore responsible for its overall administration, its development, and enhancement. The CUIC is the largest arthropod collection at a land-grant institution, comprising over 7 million specimens representing insects and mites from all biogeographic regions of the World.
I am interested in the origin, evolution, and adaptation of species and maintenance of symbioses, and in particular, how different factors may influence patterns of diversification. More specifically I am interested in how we can use diverse tools including molecular methods, next-generation sequencing, and comparative genomics with field-based research to address these questions. My research interests range from population and species level questions concerning biogeography and the effect of geologic and climatic oscillation events to higher-level phylogenetic questions regarding diversification of lineages to the role that host-associated microbes play in the ecology and evolution of insects. My research program is organismal-based and aims to integrate data from diverse disciplines such as genetics, genomics, entomology, ecology, and geography to address questions of how biological and physical processes interact to drive evolution. Although my work relies in large part on inferring molecular phylogenetic trees in a model-based statistical framework, my interest includes how we can use those trees to inform larger-scale evolutionary patterns. These questions include why species are found where they are, how long they have been there, what factors may have promoted their diversification, how species interactions shape the evolutionary history of both players, and how this may inform us about broader evolutionary questions outside of the focal taxonomic group alone including modern issues like invasive species, climate change, and conservation. By uncovering the diversity and putative function of host-associated microbes we may begin to understand how these interactions are driving the evolution of both partners. Much of my research focuses on gut-associated bacteria in the ants. By coupling this information with data on diet, trophic ecology, evolutionary history and biogeography, I hope to gain a better understanding of how intimate interactions influence patterns of diversity.
Outreach and Extension Focus
Expanding Diversity and Inclusion in Science: I actively work to increase diversity and inclusion in science through several activities. I am currently an appointed member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Entomological Society of America. I also serve as and Ento Ally (Entomological Society of America) and Evo Ally (Evolution Conferences) to create visible and vetted colleagues that are available for conference attendees to talk to confidentially about their concerns, and to support them during our annual conferences. I am also a member of several diversity societies including Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), Association for Women in Science (AWIS), American Association of University Women (AAUW), and Graduate Women In Science (GWIS). In addition, I volunteer to serve as a mentor for underrepresented students at several scientific societies (Evolution, SICB). I have also given invited diversity and inclusion or women and bias in science seminars at several universities. Lastly my scientific research and diversity and inclusion work was featured by National Geographic in their Women Of Impact series (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2018/07/ants-evolution-corrie-moreau-women-in-biology/).
Popularization and Science Communication: Sharing our research with the public and demystifying science is an important aspect of my career. In this last year (2019) I have been interviewed by The Atlantic Magazine, Mongabay, and PBS News Hour about insect declines. In addition I co-wrote an article for Natural History Magazine about a paper we published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. In addition I helped staff and work two popular exhibits at the annual Insectapalooza, which had ~3000 visitors.
Awards and Honors
- AAAS Fellow (2018) American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Ramalho, M. O., Moreau, C., & Bueno, O. C. (2018). The potential role of environment in structuring the microbiota of Camponotus across parts of the body. Scientific Reports.
- Nelsen, M. P., Ree, R. H., & Moreau, C. (2018). Ant-plant interactions evolved through increasing interdependence. PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 115:12253-12258.
- Rubin, B. E., Kautz, S., Wray, B. D., & Moreau, C. (2018). Dietary specialization in mutualistic acacia-ants affects relative abundance but not identity of host-associated bacteria. Molecular Ecology. 17.
- Ramalho, M. O., Vieira, A. S., Pereira, M. C., Moreau, C., & Bueno, O. C. (2018). Transovarian Transmission of Blochmannia and Wolbachia Endosymbionts in the Neotropical Weaver Ant Camponotus textor (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Current Microbiology. 75:866-873.
- Johnson, R. A., & Moreau, C. (2016). A new ant genus from southern Argentina and southern Chile, Patagonomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa. 4139:31.