This lab is interested in the origin and distribution of biodiversity, whether morphological, genetic, ecological or functional. The study groups of the Water and Cave Beetle Evolution lab are different lineages of aquatic and subterranean Coleoptera, mostly (but not exclusively) focused on the Holarctic, and, especially, the Mediterranean. Current research topics include (1) the Phylogeny, taxonomy and biogeography of different lineages of water and subterranean beetles; (2) the effect of habitat constraints in the macroecology and macroevolution of freshwater invertebrates; and (3) evolutionary convergence in subterranean beetles.
Lab website: Beetle Evolution Lab
Ylla, G; Piulachs, M.D; Belles, X. 2018. Clues about the evolution of insect metamorphosis revealed by comparative transcriptomics of hemimetabolan and holometabolan species. iScience (Cell Press). 4:164–179 doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2018.05.017.
Rubio, M.; Maestro, J.L., Piulachs, M.D.; Belles, X. (2018) Conserved association of Argonaute 1 and 2 proteins with miRNA and siRNA pathways throughout insect evolution, from cockroaches to flies. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms. 1861(6):554-560 doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2018.04.001
Llonga N.; Ylla G.; Bau J.; Belles X.; Piulachs M.-D. 2018. Diversity of piRNA expression patterns during the ontogeny of the German cockroach. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution. 330(5):288-295 doi: 10.1002/jez.b.22815
Jongepier E.; Kemena C.; Lopez-Ezquerra A.; Belles X.; Bornberg-Bauer E.; Korb J. 2018. Remodeling of the juvenile hormone pathway through caste-biased gene expression and positive selection along a gradient of termite eusociality. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution. 330(5):296-304 doi: 10.1002/jez.b.22805