Zachary Hancock

Graduate Student
Wicksten Lab



  • B.S. Biology, Texas A&M University-Texarkana. 2016
  • Ph.D. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, In Progress, Texas A&M University.
  • Phylogeography & speciation
  • Invertebrate systematics & evolution
  • Community ecology of intertidal marine habitats
  • Population genetics

Nearshore marine fauna display curious biogeographic patterns often dependent on their dispersal potential, but also past geology and oceanic currents. Coastal development, beach alteration, and river manipulation (i.e. dams) can also have significant effects on the ability of some nearshore fauna to disperse. Alternatively, human-mediated dispersal has allowed other nearshore fauna to gain cosmopolitan distributions (e.g. the invasive anemone, Diadumene
lineata). I am interested in understanding the processes that have contributed to modern distributions of invertebrate nearshore fauna, particularly sand-dwelling amphipods (Haustoriidae), using a variety of techniques including population genetics, multivariate community analysis, phylogenetics, and behavioral tests (lab-manipulated experiments investigating mate-choice, burrowing ability, feeding preferences, etc.). Using each of these tools provide a more holistic view of present and historical demographic shifts in nearshore fauna.


Hancock, Z.B., Hardin, F., Light, J.E. An ancient suture zone in the Gulf of Mexico inferred from the phylogeography of sand-burrowing amphipods (Haustoriidae). Submitted.

Hancock, Z.B. & Wicksten, M.K. (2018) Two new species of sand-burrowing amphipods of the genus Haustorius Müller, 1775 (Amphipoda: Haustoriidae) from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Zootaxa, 4459(1): 101–127.

Hancock, Z.B. (2017) A Walk on the Beach: Haustoriid Amphipods as Indicators of Beach Disturbance. Applied Biodiversity Science Perspective Series, 7: 13–20.

Hancock, Z.B., Goeke, J.A., Wicksten, M.K. (2017) A sea anemone of many names: a review of the taxonomy and distribution of the invasive actiniarian Diadumene lineata (Diadumenidae), with records of its reappearance on the Texas coast. ZooKeys, 706: 1–15.