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Department of Invertebrate Zoology

SEM of Astrangia poculata nematocysts


Abby Reft Museum Specialist

  • Phone: 202-633-8848
  • Fax: 202-633-8848
  • E-mail:

  • Mailing and Courier Delivery Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    Department of Invertebrate Zoology
    Museum Support Center, MRC 534
    4210 Silver Hill Road
    Suitland, MD 20746

    Responsibilities: Museum Specialist with a focus on NOAA collections and research

    Education: PhD. Ohio State University
    M.A. University of Kansas
    B.A. University of Chicago

    Research Interests:

    Character evolution and phylogenetics of Anthozoa, particularly the Actiniaria (sea anemones), nematocysts, cnidae, invertebrates, morphology, and microscopy.

    Selected Publications:

    O’Leary M., Alphonse K., Arce H M., Cavaliere D., Cirranella A., Dietterich T., Julius M., Kaufman S., Law E., Passarotti M., Reft A., Robalino J., Simmons N.B., Smith S., Stevenson D. Theriot E., Velazco P., Walls R., Yu M., Daly M. 2017. Crowdsourcing morphological matrices: crowds replicate performance of scientific experts scoring phylogenetic matrices of phenotypes. Accepted Systematic Biology

    Allen J.D., Klompen A.M.L., Alpert E.J., Reft A.J. 2017. Obligate planktotrophy in the Götte’s larva of Stylochus ellipticus (Platyhelminthes). Invertebrate Reproduction & Development 61:110-118.

    Schüler A., Schmitz G., Reft A., Özbek S., Thurm U., Bornberg-Bauer E. 2015. The rise and fall of TRP-N, an ancient family of mechanogated ion channels, in Metazoa. Genome Biology Evolution 7: 1713-1727.

    Okamura B., Gruhl A., Reft A. 2015. Cnidarian Origins of Myxozoa. pp. 45-68. For B. Okamura, A. Gruhl, J. Bartholomew (Eds). Myxozoan Evolution, Ecology and Development. Springer.

    Rodríguez E., Barbeitos M.S., Brugler M.R., Crowley L.M., Grajales A., Gusmão L., Häussermann V., Reft A., Daly M. 2014. Hidden among sea anemones: The first comprehensive phylogenetic reconstruction of the order Actiniaria (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Hexacorallia) reveals a novel group of hexacorals. PLOS ONE 9 (5): e96998. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096998

    Reft A.J., and Daly M. 2012. Morphology, distribution, and evolution of apical structure of nematocysts in Hexacorallians. Journal of Morphology 273: 121-136.

    Voight J.R., Lee R.W., Reft A.J., Bates A.E. 2012. Scientific gear as a vector for alien species at deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Conservation Biology DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2012.01864.x

    Daly M., Gusmao L.C., Reft A.J., Rodriguez E. 2010. Phylogenetic signal in mitochondrial and nuclear markers in sea anemones (Cnidaria, Actiniaria). Integrative and Comparative Biology 50: 371-388.

    Reft, A.J., Westfall, J. A., Fautin D. G. 2009. Formation of the apical flaps in nematocysts of sea anemones (Cnidaria: Actiniaria). Biological Bulletin 217: 25-34.

    Reft, A.J. and Voight J.R. 2009. Sensory structures on the siphons of wood-boring bivalves (Pholadidae: Xylophagainae: Xylophaga). The Nautilus 123:43-48.

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