Entomology I


Our research program lies at the interface of integrative taxonomic-systematics, ecological biogeography, and bioinformatic modelling, with a particular focus on probing macroecology and macroevolutionary questions. Particular emphasis is placed on unveiling evolutionary processes shaping the evolution of leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae), a superfamily of over 40,000 species.

In case you have an interest in joining the team, contact us!

Our research is organized into three main areas:

1) Behavior, Integrative taxonomy, and faunistic Inventories


– Integrative taxonomy and Inventories of Neotropical tortoise beetle fauna:  We are currently working with colleagues in Colombia, Cuba, and Brazil to update our knowledge regarding the tortoise beetle fauna, counting on the description of new species, development of updated identification keys and faunistic records. This will allow the identification o potential biogeographical patterns that will be explored in future studies.

-Gregarious behavior in tortoise beetles: We are currently studying patterns and the emergence of gregarious behavior and its influence on the evolution of maternal care in tortoise beetles.

2) Systematics and Phylogenetics of leaf beetles

– Museomics and the evolution of antipredator traits: We are currently studying phenotypic integration towards antipredator adaptations in tortoise beetles. This research integrates the comparative morphology of extant and extinct taxa, statistical phylogenetics, and high throughput sequencing approaches, which enable the use of degraded DNA extracted from historical museum specimens.

-Total evidence systematics and beetle evolution: We study morphological evolution of different clades with leaf beetles using a diverse range of organisms using cutting-edge techniques such as MicroCT scanning, morphometrics, and molecular systematics.

3) Ecological Biogeography

-Niche dynamics of invasive insects: Collaborative work with institutes within Germany, Japan, US, and Brazil exploring niche dynamics related to invasive species.

Our research on this topic is taxon-independent, focusing solely on addressing the specific question at hand. This approach creates opportunities for collaboration with specialists from diverse backgrounds and groups, including experts in marine crustaceans, grasshoppers, butterflies, bees, and more. Ultimately, my work is driven by the questions I aim to answer.

Within all the projects, strong emphasis is placed on extensive data derived from collection material and interconnection between research areas. Using cutting-edge approaches and a large network of collaborators, we bring to light the information we have stored in the drawers of entomological collections, from genetics to distributional patterns and ecological aspects.