J. Bradley (Brad) Reil

Graduate Researcher

 Contact Info
Mailing Address:
University of Hawaii at Manoa
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR)
University of Hawaii Insect Museum
3050 Maile Way, Gilmore 607
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822-2271
Number: Phone: (908) 227-6887
E-mail: jbreil [at] hawaii [dot] edu

Research Interests: Conservation; Ecology of Endemic Species; Invasive Species Management; Genetic Techniques applied to Phylogenetic and Ecological Studies

Outreach and Museum Work: Presently I assist with management, outreach and maintenance for the University of Hawaii Insect Museum and Collection (UHIM). This includes the digitization efforts currently taking place so that we may catalogue all of our specimens online to share with other scientists and members of the public from around the world. We provide collection tours for schools and other organizations, and enjoy sharing our collection and spreading knowledge about insects! If you are interested in a group tour, please feel free to contact me at the above email address!

Personal Statement

After completing my undergraduate education at Cornell University, where I received a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as well as a minor in Entomology, I came to the University of Hawaii. The goal was to explore my childhood love of insects while pursuing broader interests in ecology and conservation. I am fortunate to be doing both. After beginning my grad school career with a project on Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles (Oryctes rhinoceros) to familiarize myself with powerful new next generation sequencing tools and computer-based analytical techniques (which produced two publications, one now in print in Molecular Ecology), I am now using these newfound skills to explore the arthropod ecology on the Maunakea volcano. I pursue research questions to this end, while also working in and helping to curate the University of Hawaii Insect Museum, where I plan and operate tours for groups of all ages and individuals from all over the world!

Research Overview

Despite restrictive altitude and weather conditions, combine with isolating distances between major land masses, the unique assemblage of plants and animals in the alpine and sub-alpine zones on the Maunakea volcano is not free of outside threats. Invasive undulates and arthropods, combined with climate change pose imminent danger to native and endemic species. To better understand the extraordinary arthropod community near the summit of the volcano, we are employing modern metabarcoding techniques to investigate diets and interactions that classical sampling cannot adequately reveal. Primary interests include the diets of the high-interest endemic species such as the Wekiu Bug and Lycosid spiders; the diets and hosts of invasive species at the sub- alpine boundary; the connectivity and structure of the arthropod community above the stable inversion layer; and the identification of species which may pose a disproportionately high influence on community function or serve as indicators of arthropod community health at high elevation.


Cornell University, Ithaca NY (2011-2015)
  B.A. Biological Science: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Concentration, 2015
  Minor: Entomology, 2015
University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu HI (2015-Present)
  Ph.D. Entomology, In Progress


Aug 2015-present: Invasion Pathways of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros), Rubinoff Lab, University of Hawaii at Manoa

  • Applying Sanger Sequencing and Next-Generation Sequencing Methods to resolve the invasion routes taken by the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle through the Pacific Islands and ultimately Hawaii
  • Generating information regarding CRB population structure and dynamics to assist with management efforts

Aug 2015-present: Doctoral Thesis Research Focus, Rubinoff Lab, University of Hawaii at Manoa


2014-2015: Gilbert (Cole) Lab, Optical Morphology of the Yellow Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria), Cornell University

  • Assisted with rearing and establishment S. stercoraria colony and began preliminary work and resolution of methods for looking at the groups optical morphology, specifically sexual dimorphisms (or the lack there of)

Summer 2014: Female Choice and Sperm Selection in Fruit Flies (Drosophila melanogaster), Pitnick Lab, Syracuse University

  • Assisted with a series of projects which looked at female mate selection, sperm selection and morphology, and fly ejaculate composition as they relate to and drive evolution.

Spring 2014: Abroad Experience in Ecuador, Tropical Ecology Program, Boston University

  • Participated in a field-intensive abroad experience in Ecuador. Participants were stationed primarily in Quito (La Universidad San Francisco De Quito) but made a number of excursions to experience the countries unique and diverse ecology. Noteworthy trips include a 10 day stay on the Ecuadorian Coast, 8 days traveling by boat between the Galapagos Islands, and a one-month expedition at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The program focused on improving research techniques and scientific writing; excursions were coupled with short term research goals.


Reil, J. B., Doorenweerd, C., San Jose, M., Sim, S. B., Geib, S. M., & Rubinoff, D. (2018). Transpacific coalescent pathways of coconut rhinoceros beetle biotypes: Resistance to biological control catalyses resurgence of an old pest. Molecular ecology, 27(22), 4459-4474.

Poff, K., Stever, H., Reil, J.B., Seabourn, P., Ching, A., Aoki, S., Logan, M., Michalski, J., Santamaria, J., Adams, J. and Eiben, J. (2017). The native Hawaiian insect microbiome initiative: a critical perspective for Hawaiian insect evolution. Insects, 8(4), 130.

Reil, J. B., San Jose, M., & Rubinoff, D. (2016). Low Variation in Nuclear and Mitochondrial DNA Inhibits Resolution of Invasion Pathways across the Pacific for the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (Scarabeidae: Oryctes rhinoceros). Proc. Hawaiian Ent. Soc. 48. 57-69.