Associate Chair for Collections - EEB Museums; Associate Professor and Curator of Fishes, Museum of Zoology
Program in the Environment
Fields of study
Tropical freshwater fishes, systematics, macroevolution, evolutionary ecology, conservation
I am interested in the evolutionary processes that originate “mega-diverse” biotic assemblages and the role of ecology in shaping the evolution of diversity. My lab studies the diversity, evolutionary history and conservation of fishes, particularly those from the Neotropical region of South and Central America. My research program focuses on the evolution of ecological and morphological specialization in driving phylogenetic divergence. Through fieldwork and collections studies we combine systematics, comparative morphology, and ecology, focusing on five goals: (1) describing the diversity and inferring the evolutionary relationships among genera and species of Neotropical cichlids and other fishes, (2) analyzing timing, rates and patterns of lineage and phenotypic diversification, (3) describing correlations between ecology and morphology in a phylogenetic framework, leading to development and testing of adaptive hypotheses, (4) analyzing patterns of ecological assembly to elucidate the effect of evolutionary history and adaptation on species interactions, and (5) determining the human impacts on Neotropical fishes and promoting their conservation.
2006-2007 Postdoctoral Fellow, Section of Ecology, Evolution and Systematic Biology, Texas A&M University. Advisors: Kirk O. Winemiller and Rodney L. Honeycutt
2005-2006 Post-doctoral Fellow, Section of Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin. Advisor: Daniel I. Bolnick.
2004 Ph.D. Section of Ecology, Evolution and Systematic Biology, Texas A&M University. Supervisors: Kirk O. Winemiller and Rodney L. Honeycutt
1998 Licentiate in Biology (B.S.). Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela. Thesis Advisor: Donald C. Taphorn
Student opportunities in lab
There will be limited opportunities in the lab for highly motivated candidates, passionate about research topics on Neotropical freshwater fishes. I am especially interested in hearing from candidates with a strong affinity for one or more of the research lines in the lab. Prospective applicants should be able to demonstrate strong academic achievements, relevant previous training or research experience, and a clear passion for research and career development. Prospective students should contact me by email with a statement of interests, a CV or resumé, and unofficial transcripts.
• Phylogenetic theory, phylogenomics and comparative methods
• The use of the fossil record in dating molecular phylogenies and accounting for extinction of lineages and phenotypes
• Biomechanics, functional morphology and life history evolution
• Community phylogenetics and the integration of ecological and evolutionary time
• Uses of Next Generation Sequencing and coalescent methods in phylogeography and species delimitation
• The role of phylogenetic information in supporting conservation of biodiversity
• Discovery and documentation of biodiversity in remote, poorly explored tropical regions