My research interests are related with the study of historical processes that create biodiversity, particularly in conditions of isolation. Currently, I am working as a Postdoctorate researcher in a collaborative project between the California Academy of Sciences (Dr. Charles Griswold and Dr. Brian Simison) and the Paleogenomics lab at the University of California, Santa Cruz (Dr. Beth Shapiro and Dr. Ed Green).

I am studying the diversification patterns and biogeography of Tetragnatha spiders on different archipelagos from the Pacific Ocean (Hawai’i, Marquesas and Society Islands). In order to answer these questions, I am generating a phylogenomic reconstruction for the group using whole genome sequencing at low coverage (Next Generation Sequencing). The broad geographic scope of these questions requires the combination of field collected (Hawai’i, Society Islands, Rapa Nui, Chile, Costa Rica and Panamá) and museum specimens. For the later ones, I am working on improve and optimize DNA extraction methods for historical specimens. The interest of this project is to examine parallel processes of diversification and generate laboratory methods to enhance the value of museum collections.

Previously on my PhD at UC Berkeley (Dr. Rosemary Gillespie and Dr. David Lindberg), I studied the temporal dynamic of the adaptive radiation of the Tetragnatha spiders in the Hawaiian archipelago. I did comparative population genetics combining the Exon Capture approach (Next Generation Sequencing) with regular Sanger sequencing of mitochondrial genes. Also, I did phylogenetic studies on endemic spiders from the Juan Fernández archipelago, as well as in the Tetragnatha genus. My current work follows up on this last chapter. During my master degree at Universidad de Chile, I worked on Evolutionary Developmental Biology (Dr. Miguel Allende and Dr. Verónica Cambiazo).

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Entomology
darkocotoras@gmail.com

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