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Heather Hines

Heather Hines

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Assistant Professor of Biology and Entomology

517 Mueller
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-8830
Lab Address: 518 Mueller
Lab Phone: (814) 865-7077



  1. B.A., Biology/Anthropology, University of Iowa, 2001
  2. M.S., Entomology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2004
  3. Ph.D., Entomology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2008

Postdoc Training

  1. North Carolina State University, Genetics, 2008-2012

Research Interests

The Genetics of Adaptive Variation in Mimetic Radiations

My lab studies the genetics underlying adaptive variation in nature, focusing on two color-diverse systems: 1) the wing patterns of the neotropical Heliconius butterflies and 2) the brightly-patterned body pile of the cold-adapted and largely-Holarctic bumble bees (Bombus). Both of these systems exhibit exceptional color pattern variation driven by convergence onto numerous regional mimetic patterns via Müllerian mimicry. These divergent and convergent color patterns provide ample opportunity for understanding how genes are modified in the course of evolution, including how genes and gene networks are co-opted to create novel traits, the diverse ways convergent phenotypes are acquired, the genetic complexity underlying adaptive variation, and how genetic architecture can promote diversification. We are targeting the genes regulating color pattern in these systems using genomic, transcriptomic, and developmental approaches. In bumble bees, where color pattern regulation is less understood, we are also characterizing mimetic patterns and the nature of pigmentation. In addition to determining the genetics underlying the color phenotypes, we are using genetic information across color pattern variants to infer the evolutionary events and processes that have shaped the diversity of mimetic assemblages observed today.

Ecology and Evolution of Bees, Wasps, and Butterflies

We are also interested in broader aspects of bee, wasp, and butterfly evolution, including Hymenopteran systematics, the evolution of sociality, and inferring biogeographic history. Additional projects of interest extend into the realm of ecology. This includes exploring the role of niche in bee and butterfly mimicry, studying selection for mimetic patterns in the field, and addressing issues of pollinator conservation.

Selected Publications

Hines, H. M. and P. Williams. 2012. Evolution of Müllerian mimicry in the highly color polymorphic bumble bee Bombus trifasciatus and its comimics. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 166:805-826.

Hines, H. M.*, R. Papa*, M. Ruiz, A. Papanicoloau, C. Wang, H. F. Nijhout, W. O. McMillan**, and R. Reed**. 2012. Transcriptome analysis reveals novel patterning and pigmentation genes underlying Heliconius butterfly wing pattern variation. BMC Genomics 13: 288. *, ** equal contributions

The Heliconius Genome Consortium. 2012. Butterfly genome reveals promiscuous exchange of mimicry adaptations among species. Nature,

Hines, H. M., Counterman, B. A., Papa, R., Albuquerque de Moura, P., Cardoso, M. Z., Linares, M., Mallet, J., Reed, R. D., Jiggins, C. D., Kronforst, M. R., and W. Owen McMillan. 2011. Wing patterning gene redefines the mimetic history of Heliconius butterflies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 108: 19666-19671.

Reed, R. D., R. Papa, A. Martin, H. M. Hines, B. A. Counterman, C. Pardo-Diaz, C. D. Jiggins, N. L. Chamberlain, M. R. Kronforst, R. Chen, G. Halder, H. F. Nijhout, and W. O. McMillan. 2011. optix drives the repeated convergent evolution of butterfly wing pattern mimicry. Science 333: 1137-1141.

Counterman, B. A., F. Araujo-Perez, H. M. Hines, S. W. Baxter, C. M. Morrison, D. P. Lindstrom, R. Papa, L. Ferguson, M. Joron, R. ffrench-Constant, C. Smith, D. M. Nielsen, R. Chen, C. D.Jiggins, R. D. Reed, G. Halder, J. Mallet, and W. O. McMillan. 2010. Genomic hotspots for adaptation: the population genetics of two warning color loci in Heliconius erato. PLoS Genetics 6 (2): e1000796.

Hines, H. M. 2008. Historical biogeography, divergence times, and diversification patterns of bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus). Systematic Biology 57: 58-75.

Cameron, S. A., H. M. Hines, and P. H. Williams. 2007. A comprehensive phylogeny of the bumble bees.  Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 91: 161-188.

Hines, H. M., J. H. Hunt, T. K. O’Connor, J. J. Gillespie, and S. A. Cameron. 2007. Multigene phylogeny reveals eusociality evolved twice in vespid wasps. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104: 3295-3299.

Hines, H. M., and S. D. Hendrix. 2005. Bumble bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) diversity and abundance in tallgrass prairie patches: effects of local and landscape floral resources. Environmental Entomology 34: 1477-1484.