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I am interested in systematics, evolution and historical biogeography of the most diverse group of animals, the beetles (Coleoptera), at different hierarchical scales, using morphology and molecules. I have been working on the taxonomy of different beetle families acquiring tangible experience on its systematics and related fieldwork.
Together with several keen collaborators around the world and with the support of the Australian National Insect Collection-CSIRO and 1K Insect Transcriptome Evolution project, we will try to infer crown groups of beetles, their phylogenetic relationships and divergence times,
a feasible goal with the use of new technologies for massive generation of molecular data. We aim to provide a phylogeny that will serve as a basis for a stable classification and deeper understanding of significant evolutionary trends.
More recently, we have been working on critical biological and evolutionary questions related to the evolution and diversity of beetles using genomics.
I have witnessed the irreparable consequences human impact in my home country, Venezuela, and as a way to stimulate environmental awareness, together with biologist Mario Dos Reis, we are planning a series of river expeditions to remote areas. We will document its biodiversity for a broad audience with state of the art technology to highlight the beauty and fragility of those ecosystems in hopes to mitigate their loss and promote their conservation. This is our way to inspire hope at the coalface of biological crisis that has plagued our country.
The picture above is at the upper Orinoco in the Venezuelan Amazon