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Sam Church

Graduate Student


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. Starting in 2015 I will be a graduate student in the Extavour lab, in the OEB graduate training program.


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.