Virginia Tech® home

Paul Marek

Associate Professor
  • Systematics
503 Latham Hall

A central mission of our research is the exploration and description of biodiversity, especially Appalachian millipede species. Research in the lab focuses on two areas: (1) arthropod systematics and taxonomy and (2) the evolutionary ecology of aposematic coloration and mimicry. We use molecular systematics to provide an evolutionary context to address our research questions pertaining to the ecology of aposematism and coloration.

Studying the evolution of warning coloration helps us to understand animal adaptation and how evolution produces the diversity of life on the planet. Taxonomic research is  significant because it supports the description of Earth’s biological diversity. Although preserving species diversity is critical to the environment and society, we are losing species to extinction at a staggering rate. I teach undergraduate Insect Biology and graduate Insect Systematics.

More details about my research can be found at

  • Ph.D. in Biology, East Carolina University, NC 2008
  • M.A. in Systematic Biology and Ecology, San Francisco State University, CA 2002
  • B.S. in Biology, Loyola University of Chicago, IL 2000

Professional Memberships

  • Entomological Society of America
  • Virginia Natural History Society
  • Virginia Entomological Society
  • Centre International de Myriapodologie


  • Derek Hennen (Ph.D.) Systematic Entomology and Biodiversity of Millipedes)

Marek, P.E., J.C. Means, and D.A. Hennen. 2018. Apheloria polychroma, a new species of millipede from the Cumberland Mountains (Polydesmida: Xystodesmidae), Zootaxa, 4375: 409-425.

Yang, F., K. Chan, P.E. Marek, P.M. Armstrong, P. Liu, J.E. Bova, J.N. Bernick, B.E. McMillan, B.G. Weidlich, and S.L. Paulson 2018. Cache Valley Virus in Aedes japonicus japonicus mosquitoes, Appalachian Region, United States. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 24: 553-557.

Means, J.C. and P.E. Marek. 2017. Is geography an accurate predictor of evolutionary history in the millipede family Xystodesmidae? PeerJ, 5:e3854.

Shear, W.A., P. Nosler, and P.E. Marek 2017. The identity of Amplaria nazinta (Chamberlin, 1910): a century-old millipede mystery resolved (Diplopoda, Chordeumatida, Striariidae), Zootaxa, 4311: 233-240.                                                

Marek, P.E. 2017. Ultraviolet-induced fluorescent imaging for millipede taxonomy,Research Ideas and Outcomes, 3: 1-14.

Marek, P.E., J. Krejca, and W.A. Shear. 2016. A new species of Illacme Cook & Loomis,
1928 from Sequoia National Park, California, with a world catalog of the Siphonorhinidae (Diplopoda, Siphonophorida), ZooKeys, 626: 1-43.    [Open access]

Shear, W.A., R.L. Ferreira, L.F.M. Iniesta, P.E. Marek 2016. A millipede missing link: Dobrodesmidae, a remarkable new polydesmidan millipede family from Brazil with supernumerary rings (Diplopoda, Polydesmida), and the establishment of a new suborder Dobrodesmidea, Zootaxa, 4178: 371-390.

Dellinger, T., V. Wong**, and P.E. Marek. 2016. Makelabels: a Bash script for generating data matrix codes for collection management, Biodiversity Data Journal, 4: 1-9.    [Open access]

Garcia, A.J.**, S. Priya, and P.E. Marek. 2015. Understanding the locomotion and dynamic controls for millipedes: Part 1 – Kinematic analysis of millipede movements, Proceedings of the ASME 2015 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, 1 – 10.

Meyer, W.M., J. Eble, K. Franklin, R.B. McManus**, S.L. Brantley, J. Henkle**, P.E. Marek, W.E. Hall, C.A. Olson, R. McInroy**, E.M. Bernal Loaiza**, R.C. Brusca, and W. Moore. 2015. Ground-Dwelling Arthropod Communities of a Sky Island Mountain Range in Southeastern Arizona, USA: Obtaining a Baseline for Assessing the Effects of Climate Change, PLoS ONE, 10(9): 1-18.    [Open access]

Means, J.C.**, E.A. Francis**, A.A. Lane**, and P.E. Marek. 2015. A general methodology for collecting and preserving xystodesmid and other large millipedes for biodiversity research, Biodiversity Data Journal, 3: 1 – 17.    [Open access]

Marek, P. E., and W. Moore. 2015. Discovery of a glowing millipede in California and the gradual evolution of bioluminescence in Diplopoda. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 112, 6419-6424.    [Open access]

Harris, M.C.**, E.J. Dotseth, B.T. Jackson, S.D. Zink, P.E. Marek, L.D. Kramer, S.L. Paulson, and D.M. Hawley. 2015. La Crosse virus in Aedes japonicus japonicus mosquitos in the Appalachian Region, Emerging Infectious Diseases, 21.    [Open access]

Marek, P.E., T. Tanabe, and S. Sierwald. 2014. A species catalog of the millipede family Xystodesmidae (Diplopoda: Polydesmida), Virginia Museum of Natural History Special Publications, 17: 1 – 117.    [Open access]

Kamali, M.**, A. Peery**, P.E. Marek, C. Antonio-Nkondjio, C. Ndo, Z. Tu, F. Simard, and I.V. Sharakhov. 2014. Temporal diversification of major African malaria vectors inferred from multigene phylogenetics, PLoS ONE 9(4): 1-9.    [Open access]

** student co-authored publications