Research

Current projects

Development and phylogenetic utility of systems of nomenclature for larval primary chaetotaxy of aquatic beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera)

Principal investigator: Mariano Michat

Funding institution: University of Buenos Aires (UBA)

This project aims to contribute for a better knowledge on the larvae of aquatic beetles through the development of systems of nomenclature for primary chaetotaxy, and the establishment of a homogeneous descriptive template that will allow to study comparatively the different groups using a phylogenetic approach. The specific goals are: (1) to fully develop systems of nomenclature for larval primary chaetotaxy of the families Haliplidae, Noteridae, and Scirtidae; (2) to develop a system of nomenclature for primary chaetotaxy of the larval legs of the family Hydrophilidae; (3) to continue the development of the systems of nomenclature for larval primary chaetotaxy of the families Gyrinidae and Dytiscidae; (4) to discover new characters, both diagnostic and phylogenetically relevant, on the basis of the new systems explored; and (5) to provide phylogenetic hypotheses for the studied groups using a cladistic inference. For this purpose we will gather relevant entomological material through collecting trips and exchange with colleagues. Laboratory work includes insect rearing, processing of the material, analysis of the results, and preparation of scientific publications applying the usual methods in entomological research. This project will contribute with larval diagnoses and descriptions, development of systems of nomenclature for larval primary chaetotaxy of aquatic beetles, and phylogenetic studies.

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Taxonomy of aquatic Coleoptera and Heteroptera (Insecta), with emphasis on the development of interactive keys

Principal investigator: Patricia Torres

Funding institution: National Agency of Scientific and Technological Promotion (ANPCyT)

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Studies on the systematics, phylogeny and bionomics of Hydradephaga (Insecta: Coleoptera)

Principal investigator: Mariano Michat

Funding institutions: National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) and University of Buenos Aires (UBA)

This is a long-term project aimed to contribute to the knowledge of world Hydradephaga by studying the morphology, systematics, phylogeny, biogeography, bionomy and conservation of the different groups of aquatic Adephagan beetles. This is the project underlying most of my activities as a Researcher for CONICET and UBA. Almost all the research activities I develop are in some way guided by this project, including field and laboratory work, mentoring activities, and collaborations with colleagues. Upcoming research associated to this project involves studies describing the larval morphology and chaetotaxy within different families (Haliplidae, Noteridae, Dytiscidae, Gyrinidae), studies of the biodiversity in different protected areas of Argentina, writing of two chapters for the book “Thorp and Covich’s Freshwater Invertebrates: keys to Neotropical Hexapoda”, and guidance of doctoral theses and scholarships.

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Biodiversity and conservation of Neotropical aquatic beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera)

Principal investigator: Patricia Torres

Funding institutions: National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) and University of Buenos Aires (UBA)

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Taxonomy and systematics of Neotropical aquatic and semiaquatic bugs (Heteroptera)

Principal investigator: Silvia Mazzucconi

Funding institution: University of Buenos Aires (UBA)

The aim of this project is to contribute to the knowledge of Neotropical aquatic and semiaquatic Heteroptera, mainly from Argentina. My studies are oriented on morphology, systematics, phylogeny, biogeography, and bionomy of different groups of water bugs. My work includes adults as well as immature stages.

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Preimaginal morphology, systematics and phylogeny of Scirtidae (Insecta: Coleoptera: Polyphaga) from Argentina

Principal investigator: María Laura Libonatti

Funding institution: National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET)

The main goal of this project is to enhance the knowledge of Argentine Scirtidae through the study of preimaginal morphology, systematics and phylogeny of the family. To fulfill this goal I will: (1) diagnose, describe and illustrate in detail the preimaginal stages of the genera of Scirtidae inhabiting Argentina; (2) provide traditional and interactive keys to identify the preimaginal stages of Argentine genera of Scirtidae; (3) develop a system of nomenclature for larval primary chaetotaxy, and (4) provide phylogenetic hypotheses for the genera and species of Scirtidae from Argentina based on preimaginal characters.

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Systematic revision and cladistic analysis of the tribe Scotobiini (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)

Principal investigator: Violeta Silvestro

Funding institution: National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET)

This project aims to contribute for a better knowledge on the phylogenetic relationships of members of the tribe Scotobiini. The specific goals are: (1) to revise the tribe incorporating characters from external and internal morphology and male and female genitalia; (2) to establish the phylogenetic relationships of the genera; (3) to describe larvae and find new characters to differentiate genera; (4) to delimit the distribution of the genera. For this purpose I will gather relevant entomological material through collecting trips, review of museum collections, and exchange with colleagues. Laboratory work includes insect rearing, processing of the material, analysis of the results, and preparation of scientific publications applying the usual methods in entomological research. This project will contribute with systematic, phylogenetic, and biogeographic information on the subfamily Tenebrioninae in southern South America.

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Phylogenetic systematics of Hydrophilidae (Insecta: Coleoptera: Polyphaga) based on the study of the sensory system of larvae: external morphology and ultrastructure, morpho-functional relationships, and distribution patterns of chaetotaxy

Principal investigator: Georgina Rodriguez

Funding institution: National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET)

My project aims at improving the knowledge on the Hydrophilidae (Coleoptera: Insecta) by studying in detail its larval morphology and chaetotaxy based on a morpho-functional approach. To accomplish this I will describe larvae with an emphasis on the study of external morphology, ultrastructure, and distribution patterns of sensilla using scanning (SEM) and transmission (MET) techniques. My goal is to obtain new diagnostic characters of phylogenetic importance that will be used to reconstruct the natural history of the group.

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Larval morphology, chaetotaxy and phylogeny of Noteridae (Insecta: Coleoptera: Adephaga) from Argentina

Principal investigator: Juan Ignacio Urcola

Funding institution: University of Buenos Aires (UBA)

My project aims at improving the knowledge on the family Noteridae in Argentina by studying in detail the larval morphology and chaetotaxy through a combination of both traditional and morpho-functional approaches. For this purpose I will collect and describe larvae with an emphasis on the study of external morphology, ultrastructure, and distribution patterns of sensilla using scanning (SEM) and transmission (MET) techniques. My goal is to obtain new diagnostic characters of phylogenetic importance, which will be used to reconstruct the natural history of the group, and to develop an interactive key for the larvae of the Argentinean genera.