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Molly Wright
Caldwell Lab

Molly Wright


Phone: (510) 642-1391

Research interests: Molly is studying the evolution of monogamy in Lysiosquilloid mantis shrimps. She is interested in both how monogamy has evolved in the mantis shrimps and how environmental and demographic factors affect whether mantis shrimps form social pairs that mate exclusively in wild populations. She uses a combination of phylogenetic methods, field studies in French Polynesia, and molecular techniques to try to understand the ultimate causes of monogamy in mantis shrimps.

Research locations: Molly conducts most of her field research in the coral back reef ecosystems of Moorea, French Polynesia, at the University of California's Gump Pacific Research Station. She also visits museums (Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Australian Museum) to study the morphological traits of extant mantis shrimps. She conducts most of her laboratory research in the Molecular Phylogenetics Lab and the UCMP molecular labs.

What drew her to science: "I really love exploring marine ecosystems — I can't think of a better way to spend my time than investigating the tide pools and kelp forests of California or the coral reefs and sand flats of French Polynesia! As a scientist, I get to pursue answers to questions that fascinate me and I have a great mix of field work, lab work, writing, and teaching that keeps me on my toes."