We have a broad spectrum of interests ranging from the systematics of leaf beetles to the study of geographic speciation and the analysis of the spatial structure of genetic diversity within a temporal framework (phylogeography), as well as the investigation of biological processes such as hybridization, unisexuality or insect-host plant associations from an evolutionary perspective.
Evolution without sex
Historical circumstances and ecological implications of the hybrid origin of unisexual insects (CGL2008-00007/BOS, Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain). 2009-2011. The leaf beetle genus Calligrapha is used as a research model to investigate three aspects of evolution linked to unisexuality and hybridization: (1) heterozygosity of hybrid unisexual genomes, (2) phylogeography of unisexual hybrids and their parentals, and (3) ecological seggregation of unisexual hybrids from their parentals.
Biodiversity and Conservation
Study of insect-host plant interactions in Nicaraguan tropical dry forest (BBVA Fund, Spain). 2009-2012. DNA-profiling is used as the universal tool to investigate both the diversity of leaf beetles in seasonally dry forests of Central America and also of their host plants, the latter through PCR of diagnostic genetic markers from their ingested plant meals. We aim at reconstructing the community structure of these two large interacting elements of the ecosystem: Chrysomelidae and angiosperms.
Evolution in Pacific islands
Study of the radiation of Eumolpinae in New Caledonia (National Geographic Society and the Percy Sladen Sladen Memorial Fund, Linnean Society). The leaf beetle fauna of New Caledonia is just in the process of being discovered. Dozens of species have been described in the past five years, specially among eumolpines. Molecular phylogenies are used to assist the discovery of the structure and the timing of these island radiations.
Taxonomic revision of the genus Calligrapha (Chrysomelidae, Chrysomelinae) (SYNTHESYS, EU 7th Framework Programme). The leaf beetle genus Calligrapha is the subject of our phylogenetic research on the systematics of the group as well as the evolution of host-plant associations and reproductive strategies. The Neotropical species of this genus, covered from a taxonomic point of view only in old monographs, are the subject of a taxonomic revision.
Lab website: Gómez-Zurita Lab
Nguyen, D.T.; and Gómez-Zurita, J. 2017. Diversity and trophic ecology of the Monoleptites group (Chrysomelidae: Galerucinae, Luperini) in the Núi Chúa National Park (S Vietnam) with description of new species of Monolepta Chevrolat and Paleosepharia Laboissière. J. Asia-Pacific Entomol. 20: 65-87.
I.Vizán-Rico, H.; Gómez-Zurita, J. 2017. Testis-specific RNA-Seq of Calligrapha (Chrysomelidae) as a transcirptomic resource for male-biased bene inquiry in Coleoptera Molecular Ecology Resources. 17:533-545.
13th January, 2015. La Vanguardia. "Procrear sin macho". Article about the paper "Nonrandom patterns of genetic admixture expose the complex historical hybrid origin of unisexual leaf beetle species in the genus Calligrapha", with the participation of Jesús Gómez-Zurita.