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Research Lines

I am interested in researching how diversification and so evolution has happened, and what factors and processes have mediated to structure biodiversity we observe today. Until now researching effort has been focused in particular organisms ("model organisms") with very particular biologies, and generalizations have been and are a common practice in current publications. Probably, this biased research is consequence of longer tradition in those animals, because they can be seen by naked eye, and are easy to manage since several centuries ago. As a consequence of this biased evolutionary investigations in animals, some mistakes and wrong generalizations (e.g., the use of Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster for experiments in drugs and vaccines used in humankind).

So that, my interest is centred in animal's evolution but of those neglected animals (usually of difficult managing, hard to find, and/or not visible by naked eye). In particular, I have focused my research in diversification and evolution, and patterns and processes related, of a particular group of animals as neglected as fascinating, Tardigrada. This is a phylum of microscopic animals that molt their cuticle several times along their life cycles, and is a key-taxon to solve phylogenetic relationships among Metazoa (animals). They exhibit a latency stage when conditions are unfavourable, called cryptobiosis, in which they can survive extreme environmental conditions, both in terrestrial and extraterrestrial experiments. Moreover, they seem to have passive dispersal capabilities (due to their microscopic sizes) within unlimited distances worldwide (through wind, rainfall, other animals, etc.). These biological characteristics separate tardigrades from other animals (to which are genealogically related), approaching them to unicellular organisms (having some biological characteristics in common with tardigrades, such as, minute sizes, latency stages, long distance dispersal, variety of reproductive modes, etc.), and making their unknown speciation and evolution processes relevant to know how much general or particular are current evolutionary models, and maybe considering the tardigrades the missing link to understand uni- and multicellular organisms.