Laboratory Members

 

Lab. Director:

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Hugo A. Benítez 

In his role as Laboratory Director, Dr. Benítez has worked mainly on studying the morphological variation of organisms and how this integrated into diverse biological questions, using morphometric tools in Ecology, Evolution and Systematics.  See here:

 

Doctorate Students


Amado Villalobos-Leiva  

Amado Villalobos 

Biologists graduated from Universidad de Concepción.  His main area of work is devoted to evolutionary biology.  In his undergraduate thesis he performed an analysis integrating morphometric, ecologic and phylogenetic variables in the species sensulata of the native lizard Liolaemus pictus, in order to delimit species and propose conservation strategies.  For his master degree, at Universidad de Chile, he researched the association between digging character and performance phenotypes in a population of the native rodent Octodon degus, within a context of evolutionary ecology of behaviour.  Nowadays, in the Systematics and Biodiversity Doctorate Program, under the tutorship of Dr. Hugo Benítez, he intends to test phylogeographic and adaptive radiation hypotheses based on the wing variability of butterfly species from the genus Vanessa, using geometric morphometric tools.

 

Rocio Alvarez  

Rocío Álvarez Varas 

Veterinary Doctor, Master in Natural Resources and Dr. (c) in the Ecology and Biology Doctorate program of Universidad de Chile.  During his Master Degree, Rocío studied the morphological variation and phylogeographic patterns of six bird species from the genus Phrygilus. Her doctorate thesis is devoted to studying the morphological and genomic differentiation of Chelonia mydas (green turtle) in the Western Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, using geometric morphometric techniques and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).  Currently, Rocío is working on her thesis in the Ecology and Genetics Laboratory of Universidad de Chile, headed by Dr. David Véliz (tutor) and the Geometric Morphometrics Laboratory of Universidad de Tarapacá headed by Dr. Hugo Benítez (co-tutor).

 

Master Students


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Pablo Lamilla Maulén

Environmental Biologist and student of the Master Program on Biological Sciences at Universidad de Chile. His main research area has been focused on understanding aspects related with zoology, ecology and evolutionary biology. During his undergraduate studies, Pablo worked in areas related with animal behaviour, by studying the exploratory conduct of an endemic rodent of Chile in new environments and his degree thesis dealt with a long-term research about asymmetry patterns in a context of sexual selection of the endemic bird to temperate forests in Chile and Argentina, Aphrastura spinicauda (thorn-tailed rayadito). Currently, he intends to contribute to the knowledge of the proximate and ultimate causes explaining the diverse morphological and adaptability patterns of organisms, trying to understand and prove the importance of studying intra-individual morphological variability and developmental stability as a valuable early indicator of health and quality of life of natural habitats and wild animals, as well as the contemporary factors of environmental stress to which they may be subject. For this purpose, his master work intends to study the effect of pollutants in fluvial systems on fluctuating asymmetry of catfish populations (Trichomicterus aerolatus), using morphometric tools of the biological shape. Pablo works on his graduate thesis in the Ecology and Genetics Laboratory of the Ecology and Biodiversity Institute (IEB) at Universidad de Chile, headed by Dr. David Véliz, the Laboratory of Ecology and Evolutionary Morphometrics at Universidad de Tarapacá, led by Dr. Hugo A. Benítez and the Limnoecology Laboratory at Universidad de Playa Ancha, headed by Dr. Claudio Quezada-Romegialli. 

 

Laboratory Technician


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Rodrigo Órdenes Clavería 

Agronomic Engineer graduated from Universidad de Tarapacá.  During his undergraduate program, he studied the morphological adaptation of the non-indigenous species Bagrada hilaris in its invasive process over Chilean land.  Currently, he works in the laboratory of Dr. Benítez studying the morphometric variation processes in insects and he is in the process to continue with a graduate program.

 

Rocío Álvarez Varas

 

Veterinary Doctor, Master in Natural Resources and Dr. (c) in the Ecology and Biology Doctorate program of Universidad de Chile.  During his Master Degree, Rocío studied the morphological variation and phylogeographic patterns of six bird species from the genus Phrygilus. Her doctorate thesis is devoted to studying the morphological and genomic differentiation of Chelonia mydas (green turtle) in the Western Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, using geometric morphometric techniques and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).  Currently, Rocío is working on her thesis in the Ecology and Genetics Laboratory of Universidad de Chile, headed by Dr. David Véliz (tutor) and the Geometric Morphometrics Laboratory of Universidad de Tarapacá headed by Dr. Hugo Benítez (co-tutor).