Here you will find information about my research interests, ongoing projects and collaborations and recent news and publications
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Spiders Systematics and Evolution

Spiders Systematics and Evolution

Spiders Systematics and Evolution

Currently I am involved in several projects on molecular systematics and evolution of orb-weavers and evolution of complex behavioral and morphological traits.

  • Asian pholcid spiders: diversity, phylogenetic relationships, and multiple convergent shifts among microhabitats. co-applicant (co-PI) with Dr. Bernhard Huber. Funding by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • Phylogeny and diversification of the orb weaving spiders (Orbiculariae, Araneae) Lead senior researcher with PIs G. Hormiga and G. Giribet. Funded by NSF
  • Systematics and evolution of Araneids

Macroecology and Macroevolution

Macroecology and Macroevolution

Macroecology and Macroevolution

What are the underlying factors that govern the spatial patterns of biodiversity? Despite decades of intensive research this major question remains unanswered. I combine species evolutionary histories with contemporary distributional data and information on historical distributions, in addition to data sets on historic and contemporary climate and other environmental factors, in attempt to elucidate some of the primary mechanisms underlying the distribution of life on Earth. Examples of current highlights are listed bellow.

  • Large scale diversity patterns
  • Macroecology and macroevolution of spiders
  • Evolutionary and ecological drivers of diversity in tropical mountains

Global change

Global change

Global change

Changes in the environment are one of the major historical drivers for speciation and species extinctions. A better understanding of the mechanisms through which environmental changes affect biodiversity is essential for our efforts to protect and preserve the biosphere. By studying how variations of climate in the past have affected species diversity and distributions I try to ascertain possible scenarios for the future.

  • What has been the role of climate in shaping species diversity and species distributional ranges?
  • Can we predict effects of future climate change on species and species communities around the globe?
  • Based on our understanding of how past climatic fluctuations have affected species; how can we best protect biodiversity?

Software and web resources

Software and web resources

Software and web resources

As part of my research I also develop software and online tools which are helpful for my purposes. Here I list links to these resources with the hope that they will be helpful for more researchers.

  • Software packages
  • Web resources for systematists and evolutionary biologists
  • Online resources for the general public

List of publications

List of publications

List of publications

The three most recent publications are listed bellow. For a full list of publications follow the link above.

  • Hormiga G., Dimitrov D. In press. The discovery of the spider genus Putaoa (Araneae, Pimoidae) in Taiwan with the description of a new species, including its web architecture. Zootaxa
  • Wheeler W.C., Coddington J.A., Crowley L.M., Dimitrov D., Goloboff P.A., Griswold C.E., Hormiga G., Prendini L., Ramírez M.J., Sierwald P., Almeida-Silva L., Alvarez-Padilla F., Arnedo M.A., Benavides L.R., Benjamin S.P., Bond J.E., Grismado C.J., Hasan E., Hedin M., Izquierdo M.A., Labarque F.M., Ledford J., Lopardo L., Maddison W.P., Miller J.A., Piacentini L.N., Platnick N.I., Polotow D., Silva-Dávila D., Scharff N., Szűts T., Ubick D., Vink C.J., Wood H.M., Zhang J. In press. The spider tree of life: Phylogeny of Araneae based on target-gene analyses from an extensive taxon sampling. Cladistics. (doi: 10.1111/cla.12182)
  • Dimitrov D., Benavides L.R., Arnedo M.R., Giribet G., Griswold C.E., Scharff N., Hormiga G. 2017. Rounding up the usual suspects: a standard target-gene approach for resolving the interfamilial phylogenetic relationships of ecribellate orb-weaving spiders with a new family-rank classification (Araneae, Araneoidea). Cladistics 33(3): 221-250. (doi: 10.1111/cla.12165)

Media coverage and outreach

Media coverage and outreach

Media coverage and outreach

All media appearances, outreach activities and other popular science work is detailed here. The latest media highlights are listed bellow.

  • Current address: Natural History Museum University of Oslo P.O. Box 1172 Blindern NO-0318 Oslo, Norway
  • Email: dimitard.gwu@gmail.com
  • Résumé as pdf: CV.pdf
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Ph.D. Zoology (2005). University of Barcelona. Spain

Diploma of Advanced Studies (2003). University of Barcelona. Spain.

D.S.P.U. in environmental management (1999). MaiCh. C.I.H.E.A.M. Greece

M.S. Biology (1998). Sofia University "Saint Climent Ohridsky". Bulgaria.

Current affiliations

Postdoctoral Researcher. Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen. Copenhagen, Denmark.

Guest Researcher. Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Mercator Fellow of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Affiliate Member. ESI (Evolutionary Studies Institute) at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Adjunct Research Associate . Department of Biological Sciences, The George Washington University. Washington, D.C., USA.

Research interests

Many but here is a short list of the most prominent ones: Spider taxonomy, evolution and systematics; Molecular systematics, phylogenetics, phylogenomics, computational systematics; Macroecology, biodiversity modeling and conservation, biogeography and phylogeography. Have a look at the links on the research page for more details


  • Biogeography and Biodiversity (BIO4230/9230) spring 2014, 2016 University of Oslo.
  • Phylogenetic Systematics and Molecular Dating – April 2015, January-February 2013, January 2011 University of Copenhagen.
  • POY 4: phylogenetic analysis using dynamic homologies Workshop – January 2011, The George Washington University.


PhD students

Sergei Tarasov - PhD defended January 2016 (co-supervisor with V. Gusarov and L. Bachmann). University of Oslo

Master students and undergraduates

Nadia Pauck Holm Hansen - undergraduate (co-supervisor with N. Scharff). University of Copenhagen, completed fall 2012

Anastasia Kondakova and Anahita Shaya – undergraduates (co-supervision with G. Hormiga). The George Washington University

Contribution to the supervision of graduate students Fernando Álvarez-Padilla, Lara Lopardo, Ligia Rosario Benavides and Daniela Andriamalala. The George Washington University


For a complete list of publications click here. For other products such as web pages ot program code click here and for media coverage and outreach here.

Grants and awards

  • March 2015 - February 2018. Lead senior researcher on a NSF grant with PIs G. Hormiga and G. Giribet: Phylogeny and diversification of the orb weaving spiders (Orbiculariae, Araneae)
  • January 2014 – December 2018. Co-applicant (co-PI) with Dr. Bernhard Huber (PI) on the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) project: Asian pholcid spiders: diversity, phylogenetic relationships, and multiple convergent shifts among microhabitats.
  • September 2012 – present. Postdoctoral fellowship, The Natural History Museum, University of Oslo

Complete list of grants and awards is available in the pdf version of my CV here.