Durrell Kapan

Durrell Kapan

  • Senior Research Associate
  • Center for Comparative Genomics
  • PhD

I study the origin and maintenance of biodiversity using genomics to investigate fundamental questions about the evolutionary origins of biodiversity in recently genomically enabled insect systems. I’m currently working on three projects:


Evolution and speciation in Hawaiian Drosophila: I am sequencing multiple species of picture-winged Drosophila to identify genomic regions associated with host-use as well as mating behavior to test the importance of ecological factors in the radiation of this well-known clade. This work is in collaboration with the Center for Comparative Genomics and Prof. Kenneth Y. Kaneshiro (University of Hawaii), Rob Kulathinal (Temple University) and post-doc Nick Crawford (California Academy of Sciences).





Genomics of mosquitoes and their microbes: With collaborator Shannon N. Bennett (Associate Curator of Microbiology at the California Academy of Sciences) we are studying the microbiome of mosquitoes focused on the genus Aedes the primary vector of Dengue virus worldwide.







Genomics of color-pattern and species formation in mimetic Heliconius butterflies: To study the rapid adaptive radiation of these toxic coloful butterflies, my collaborators Marcus Kronforst (University of Chicago), Sean Mullen (Boston University), Rob Kulathinal (Temple University) and post-doc Nick Crawford (California Academy of Sciences), and I are sequencing multiple species of tropical butterflies allowing fine-scale resolution of the history of divergence with gene-flow to test a priori expectations that interspecific hybridization provides critical variation allowing rapid evolution of novel mimicry associations and new species.


  • Durrell Kapan
  • Senior Research Associate
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • 55 Music Concourse Drive
  • San Francisco, CA 94118