Gómez-Zurita Lab
Herbivore Beetle Evolution
Animal Biodiversity and Evolution Programme
Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF)
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Research Projects

Evolution without sex: Historical circumstances and ecological implications of the hybrid origin of unisexual insects (CGL2008-00007/BOS, Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain). 2009-2011.
The leaf beetle genus Calligrapha is used as a research model to investigate three aspects of evolution linked to unisexuality and hybridization: (1) heterozygosity of hybrid unisexual genomes, (2) phylogeography of unisexual hybrids and their parentals, and (3) ecological seggregation of unisexual hybrids from their parentals.

Biodiversity and Conservation - Study of insect-host plant interactions in Nicaraguan tropical dry forest (BBVA Fund, Spain). 2009-2012.
DNA-profiling is used as the universal tool to investigate both the diversity of leaf beetles in seasonally dry forests of Central America and also of their host plants, the latter through PCR of diagnostic genetic markers from their ingested plant meals. We aim at reconstructing the community structure of these two large interacting elements of the ecosystem: Chrysomelidae and angiosperms.

Evolution in Pacific islands - Study of the radiation of Eumolpinae in New Caledonia (National Geographic Society and the Percy Sladen Sladen Memorial Fund, Linnean Society).
The leaf beetle fauna of New Caledonia is just in the process of being discovered. Dozens of species have been described in the past five years, specially among eumolpines. Molecular phylogenies are used to assist the discovery of the structure and the timing of these island radiations.

Taxonomic studies - Taxonomic revision of the genus Calligrapha (Chrysomelidae, Chrysomelinae) (SYNTHESYS, EU 7th Framework Programme).
The leaf beetle genus Calligrapha is the subject of our phylogenetic research on the systematics of the group as well as the evolution of host-plant associations and reproductive strategies. The Neotropical species of this genus, covered from a taxonomic point of view only in old monographs, are the subject of a taxonomic revision.