Research objectives and content This proposal will study the functional morphology of diving beetles and its evolution in the framework of a molecular phylogeny of the group. The main goal is to understand the evolution of the morphological adaptations associated to the atransition to an aquatic life,and the ecological strategies adopted by the different groups (basically in terms of swimming behaviour). To achieve these goals an integrative approach will be taken, based on three sources of information: a multivariate analysis of l l the morphospace defined by the major morphological models within the group (based on a set of mesures of appx. 50 selected l l species); a molecular phylogeny of the main clades of diving beetles and basal related groups; and the use of phylogenetic l l comparative techniques to study the evolution of the identified morphological trends in the framework of the molecular l l phylogeny obtained.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The main training objective (and benefit) is to work in an
interdisciplinary team for developing and integrative approach to l l the study of evolutionary biology, in particular comparative biology. More specific contents will be the training in molecular biology techniques to obtain phylogenetic data; the use of l | phylogenetic methods and the construction of phylogenies; and the use of statistical techniques for phylogenetic correction in comparative biology. It is expected that the research conducted will shed light in an important general evolutionary problem, such is the morphological and functional changes associated with major evolutionary transitions, as exemplified by the secondary invasion of the aquatic medium by diving beetles.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)