Sam Church

Sam Church

Sam Church

Graduate Student


Current Position: Postdoc, Yale University


B.A., Biology. Brown University. Providence RI, USA.

Research Interests:

Starting as an undergrad at Brown University, I worked with Casey Dunn on the evolution of a group of free-swimming colonial hydrozoans called siphonophores. This work sparked my interest in the evolution of diverse forms and the interaction between genetic and cellular mechanisms that contributes to these forms. In addition to studying jellyfish evolution and development in the Dunn lab, I developed phylogenetic software, called SOWHAT, which statistically tests evolutionary hypotheses. In 2015 I joined the Extavour lab as a graduate student in the OEB graduate training program. I was supported by an NSF Graduate Research Training Fellowship.

I am currently a Post Doc at the Dunn Lab at Yale University supported by an NSF Post Doc Fellowship.

Other Publications:

Church, S.H., de Medeiros, B.A.S., Donoughe, S.D., Marquez Reyes, N.L. and Extavour, C.G, 2021. Repeated loss of variation in insect ovary morphology highlights the role of developmental constraint in life-history evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society – Part B. 

Church, SH, and Extavour, CG, 2020. Null hypotheses for developmental evolutionDevelopment,147(8).  

Church, SH*, Donoughe, S*, De Medeiros, BA and Extavour, CG, 2019. Insect egg size and shape evolve with ecology but not developmental rate. Nature571(7763). 58. BioRxiv doi: 10.1101/471946

Church, SH*, Donoughe, S*, de Medeiros, BA and Extavour, CG, 2019. A database of egg size and shape from more than 6,700 insect species. Scientific Data6BioRxiv doi: 10.1101/471953.

Sarikaya, DP, Church, SH, Lagomarsino, LP, Montgomery, S, Magnacca, KN, Price, DK, Kaneshiro, KY and Extavour, CG, 2019. Reproductive capacity evolves in response to ecology through common developmental mechanisms in Hawaiian Drosophila. Current Biology29(11). 1877-1884. BioRxiv doi: 10.1101/470898

Munro, C, Siebert, S, Zapata, F, Howison, M, Damian-Serrano, A, Church, SH, Goetz, FE, Pugh, PR, Haddock, SH and Dunn, CW, 2018. Improved phylogenetic resolution within Siphonophora (Cnidaria) with implications for trait evolution. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution127, pp.823-833. BioRxiv doi:10.1101/251116

Church SH, Ryan JF, Dunn CW. 2015. Automation and Evaluation of the SOWH Test of Phylogenetic Topologies with SOWHAT. Systematic Biology doi:10.1093/sysbio/syv055. BioRxiv doi:10.1101/005264. Git code repository:

Zapta F, Goetz FE, Smith, SA, Howison M, Siebert S, Church SH, Sander SM, Ames CL, McFadden CS, France SC, Daly M, Collins AG, Haddock SHD, Dunn CW, Cartwright P. 2015. Phylogenomic analyses support traditional relationships within Cnidaria. BioRxiv doi:10.1101/017632

Church SH, Siebert S, Bhattacharyya P, Dunn CW. 2015. The histology of Nanomia bijuga (Hydrozoa: Siphonophora). J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 324B:435–449. doi:10.1002/jez.b.22629 BioRxiv doi:10.1101/005264

Siebert S, Goetz F, Church SH, Bhattacharyya P, Zapata F, Haddock SHD, DunnCW. 2015. Stem Cells in a Colonial Animal with Localized Growth Zones. Evo. Devo. 96: 155-185. doi:10.1186/s13227-015-0018-2. BioRxiv doi:10.1101/001685.