Zach Phillips, Ph.D.

Zach is an ecologist, entomologist, and naturalist.

Zach Phillips, Ph.D., is an ecologist, entomologist, and naturalist. As an invertebrate ecologist for Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, he studies invertebrate ecology and diversity in California, from the Channel Islands to residential backyards. He explores invertebrate communities associated with plants and those hidden in plain sight, including communities of insects and spiders that live in dead wood, bird nests, beach wrack, and ant colonies. Zach received his bachelor’s degree in zoology from University of California, Santa Barbara, and his doctorate in integrative biology from University of Texas at Austin, where his research focused on symbionts of ant colonies (“myrmecophiles”), including a miniature cockroach that lives with leaf-cutter ants, Attaphila fungicola, and an invasive ant-mimicking spider that feeds on ant heads, Falconina gracilis.

Research interests: entomology, ecology, natural history, behavioral ecology, symbioses, urban ecology, invasion biology, island biogeography, community science, science writing, myrmecophiles 



Phillips, Z.I. (2021) Emigrating together but not establishing together: a cockroach rides ants and leaves. The American Naturalist doi:10.1086/711876 

Phillips, Z.I., Reding, L., and C.E. Farrior (2021). The early life of a leaf-cutter ant colony constrains symbiont vertical transmission and favors horizontal transmission. Ecology and Evolution doi:10.1002/ece3.7900 


Phillips, Z.I., Zhang, M., and U.G. Mueller (2017) Dispersal of Attaphila fungicola (Blattodea: Ectobiidae), a symbiotic cockroach of leafcutter ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insectes Sociaux doi:10.1007/s00040-016-0535-6 

Terrestrial Invertebrate Conservation Ecologist
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