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Early stages and temporal dynamics of the Tetragnatha adaptive radiation in the Hawaiian archipelago
Darko Cotoras

I am absolutely fascinated with the diversity of life. My research interests are related with the study of the evolutionary processes that generate biodiversity. I like to approach this problem at different levels of the biological organization, from organisms to communities. In my research I incorporate a diverse range of approaches like morphology, phylogenetics, populations genetics and biogeography. I am studying the temporal dynamic of the adaptive radiation of the Tetragnatha spiders in the Hawaiian archipelago. This genus had evolved more than 60 species in less than 5 million years. A group of them, the "spiny-leg" clade, includes dramatic ecological shifts and convergent ecomorphologies. Taking advantage of the different ages of the islands it is possible to examine different stages of the diversification process.

The questions that drive my research are: (1) How does a radiation get started? and (2) How are the posterior changes in number of lineages and morphological variation? In order to answer them I am using the Tetragnatha spiders as a system to test: (1) the effects of the volcanic history of the Big Island on the genetic and morphological variation, (2) evidence for past speciation processes in the Maui Nui complex and (3) the biogeography and diversification patterns of the Tetragnatha spiders from different remote archipelagos in the Pacific Ocean. I am also doing phylogenetic studies on endemic spiders from the Juan Fernández archipelago and characterizing the spider community of Rapa Nui (Isla de Pascua/Easter island).

Previously during my master's degree, I studied the evolution of the gene networks involved in appendage development in bilaterian animals.

Razeto-Barry P., Díaz J., Cotoras D. and Vásquez R. 2011. Molecular evolution, mutation size and gene pleiotropy: a geometric reexamination. Genetics 187: 877-885

Glavic A., Molnar C., Cotoras D. and de Celis J.F. 2009. Drosophila Axud1 is involved in the control of proliferation and displays pro-apoptotic activity. Mech Dev. 126: 184-97.

Contact info:
Darko Cotoras Viedma
Department of Integrative Biology
University of California, Berkeley
1005 Valley Life Sciences Bldg #3140
Berkeley CA 94720-3140
Phone: 510-643-9746
Fax: 510-643-6264
Email: darkocotoras(at)berkeley.edu


EvoLab UC Berkeley

Essig Museum of Entomology

Instituto de Filosofía y Ciencias de la Complejidad (IFICC)

Zebrafish for Innovation and Research


University of California, Berkeley    |     Department of Integrative Biology