My research interests are related with the study of the historical processes that create biodiversity, particularly in conditions of isolation. My main study group are the spiders and other invertebrates from the Pacific Rim and its islands, with special attention to volcanic archipelagos and the Gondwanic landmasses. I combine field and museum work with phylogenetics, population genetics and genomics. Due to my research on understudied taxa and remote locations, I am also interested in biodiversity discovery: species inventories, species descriptions and natural history observations.

Currently, as a Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Senckenberg Museum (Peter Jäger and Steffen Pauls), I am studying the evolution of the color polymorphism of the Selkirkilla (Theridiidae) spiders, a genus endemic to the temperate rainforest of southern Chile, the Juan Fernández Archipelago and Patagonia.

During the last years, I have researched the evolution of the web polymorphism of the spider Wendilgarda galapagensis (Theridiosomatidae) from Isla del Coco (Costa Rica) and characterized the spider and beetle community from the Lizard Island group on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Before, as PostDoc between the University of California, Santa Cruz (Beth Shapiro and Ed Green) and the California Academy of Sciences (Charles Griswold and Brian Simison), I studied diversification patterns of Tetragnatha (Tetragnathidae) spiders on various archipelagos from the Pacific (Hawai’i, Marquesas, Society Islands and Rapa Nui) and improved molecular methods to enhance the value of museum collections.

Sponsored by a Fulbright fellowship during my PhD at the University of California, Berkeley (Rosemary Gillespieand David Lindberg), I studied the early stages of adaptive radiation on the Hawaiian Tetragnatha spiders using Exon Capture for population genetics. During my MSc at Universidad de Chile (Miguel Allende and Verónica Cambiazo), I worked on Evolutionary Developmental Biology.

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Entomology
darkocotoras@gmail.com

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