Animal Biodiversity and Evolution
Members of this research program carry out research on animal biodiversity from a phylogenetic perspective with the aim of gaining further insight into the tree of life. The program's specific research interests include the origin and distribution of biodiversity (whether morphological, genetic, ecological or functional), systematics of certain groups, speciation, hybridization, diversification, biogeography, evolutionary ecology and phylogenetic methodology. Program members are not only working on the systematics and phylogenetic relationships among certain groups of organisms, but also on the evolutionary processes that gave rise to current biodiversity patterns. The main groups studied are mammals, reptiles, amphibians and Coleoptera, thus including a broad variety of animal taxa. A wide range of techniques are covered, from field work and morphological analysis to genetic studies, genomic data mining and software development. We are increasingly using large-scale phylogenetic analyses (both in terms of species considered and sequenced data) in order to obtain more robust phylogenies and evolutionary conclusions. Phylogenetic trees are a common framework for many evolutionary studies and therefore this research program provides many points of contact with other programs at the IBE.