Abraham L. Miller

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Abraham L. Miller
Visiting Assistant Professor

2001: West Texas A&M University, B.S. Biology
2002: University of Tasmania, H.Sc. Zoology
2008: University of Texas at Arlington, Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Biology, Advisor: Daniel Formanowicz
Dissertation Title: "Phylogeography and geographical variation of behavioral and morphological characteristics in Paruroctonus boreus."
Research Topics Dr. Miller Has Investigated:
  • Male behavioral response of the northern scorpion to the presence of male and female conspecifics
  • Scorpion distribution along a latitudinal gradient
  • Morphological variation of mating structures in scorpions using SEM
  • Phylogeography of the northern scorpion, inferred from mitochondrial DNA
  • Mite parasitism on the southern scorpion in Tasmania, Australia
  • Reproductive behavior of the southern scorpion in Tasmania
Questions the Research Can Address:
  • Do male scorpions randomly search for mates or are they responding to chemical cues, which they use to differentiate between males and females?
  • Are scorpions sexually dimorphic in their structures associated with mate location and mating?
  • Are geographically widespread species isolated in some areas? If so, do these populations exhibit genetic divergence?
  • How frequent are the rates of parasitism in scorpions and what effects do they have on populations? 
Research Ideas/Projects for Undergraduates:
  • Create distributional maps of Florida scorpions using collected specimens and museum specimens. Using GIS, we can map the distribution of the species, potential areas of occurrence and track the spread of invasive species in the state.
  • Describe the mating behaviors and reproductive structures of scorpions in Florida. Research literature has not documented the mating behaviors of Florida scorpions or their reproductive structures.
  • Investigate the reproductive investment of female scorpions. Female scorpions demonstrate parental care and it is unknown if the scorpions in Florida experience reproductive trade-offs between the size and number of offspring that they have. Additionally, it is undocumented whether years with less prey (drought years) affect the reproductive investment of females the following year. If so, do females give birth to fewer young following bad years or do they give birth to the same number, but smaller young.    
Publications:
Published
2002, Seeman, O. & A Miller. Mite parasitism on the southern scorpion Cercophonius squama. Tasmanian Naturalist 124: 49-55.
2002, Miller, A. Cryptically beautiful: surprising observations of the scorpion Cercophonius squama. Invertabrata, summer edition www address: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/zoology/Invertebrata/Invertebrata.html
In Preparation

2008, Miller, A. & D. Formanowicz. Male behavioral responses to chemical cues deposited by females in Paruroctonus boreus (Scorpionida: Vaejovida).
2008, Miller, A., R. Makowsky & D. Formanowicz. Phylogeography and historical biogeography of Paruroctonus boreus (Scorpionida: Vaejovidae), infered from mitochondrial DNA sequence information.
2008, Miller, A. & D. Formanowicz. Sex specific and intraspecific variation in the sensory organs (pectines) of Paruroctonus boreus using SEM.
Presentations:
Oral
2008, Guest Lecturer Eastfield College. Sexual dimorphism and intaspecific variation in the pectines of Paruroctonus boreus using SEM.
2006, Guest Lecturer Eastfield College. Scorpions and Their Kin, diversity of the subphylum Chelicerata.
2004, Phi Sigma Seminar Series. Biogeography of Paruroctonus boreus.
2004, American Arachnology Society. Phylogeography of Paruroctonus boreus with data suggesting Paruroctonus utahensis as the sister taxon. 28th Annual American Arachnology Society Meeting. Norman, OK.
Poster
2007, GIS Day. GIS as a tool in the Biogeography of Paruroctonus boreus. University of Texas at Arlington.