Tin Chi Solomon  Chak

Ph.D. Student

Email: [[tchak]]
Phone: (804) 684 -7484
Office: Andrews Hall 124
Department: Biological Sciences
Advisor: Dr. J. Emmett Duffy


I am broadly interested in the process of evolution, especially how species diversity and complex social behavior evolved. My research focuses on the evolution of eusociality and host specificity in a unique group of social animals, the sponge-dwelling snapping shrimps, Synalpheus. My research has sought to test, and ended up challenging, several paradigms in evolution and sociobiology because Synalpheus is the only marine eusocial group while most sociobiology theories were developed for terrestrial animals. See more in my research website.

I am also a GK-12 Fellow at York High School in Yorktown. View my GK-12 Poster.


Ph.D.   Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, 2011 – 2016 (expected)

M.S.     University of Wyoming, Zoology and Physiology, 2005 – 2007

B.S.      Iowa State University, Biology, 2002 – 2005

Research Projects

2011 – current   Evolution of eusociality and host specificity in sponge-dwelling snapping shrimps

2011 – 2013      Dimensions of biodiversity in Chesapeake Bay demersal fishes

2010 – 2011      Bioerosion of corals by the crown-of-throne seastar in Malaysia

2009 – 2011      Coexistence of sea urchins in Hong Kong

2009 – 2010      Mating behavior of the rock shrimp Rhynchocinetes brucei

2009 – 2010      Bioerosion of corals by sea urchins in Hong Kong

2008 – 2010      Diversity, distribution, abundance, and population dynamics of sea urchins in Hong Kong

2008 – 2009      Development of microsatellite markers for the sea urchin Anthocidaris crassispina

2007 – 2008      Population differentiation of the limpet Cellana grata in Hong Kong

2005 – 2007      Phylogenetic Relationships and Population Differentiation of Oreohelix Landsnails in Wyoming and Adjacent South Dakota

2004 – 2005      Population genetics of the endangered Higgins' eye pearly mussel in the Mississippi River

Fellowships and Awards

2014   Dean’s Fellowship, School of Marine Science, VIMS

2014   VIMS Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition, Runner-up

2013   H. Brooker Andrews, Jr. Fellowship, VIMS

2011   VIMS Council Fellowship

2005   Graduated with distinction, Iowa State University

2005   Phi Beta Kappa, Iowa State University

2004   Dean’s List for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Iowa State University

2004   Highest 2% Liberal Arts and Sciences Sophomore, Iowa State University