My research focuses on geometric morphometrics and shape analysis: I’m interested in both the biological processes explaining shape variation and the methods developed to study such variation. I am an evolutionary biologist with a broad range of interests on the biological processes impacting phenotypic variation: particularly genetics, development and ecology.
Genetics of shape
The exploration of the genetics of shape and the regulatory networks associated to shape variation seems a relatively unexplored and promising area, which might explain the origin of shape variation. Specifically, I’ve worked on the genetics of shape robustness and developmental stability in the mice skull to assess the importance of genomic variation in shape canalization and development in mammals. That project also gave me the opportunity to approach development, the process canalizing genetic variation into phenotypic variation.
Shape development and ecology
From a different perspective, I also studied development and its interaction with ecology on a different biological system: I assessed the effect of developmental temperature and geographic variation on the Drosophila suzukii ovipositor shape. The ovipositor is a key structure in the recent worldwide colonization of this species and therefore shape variation an important feature for its ecology and evolution.
I’m also interested in macroevolutionary approaches. I’ve applied phylogenetic comparative methods to study patterns of evolutionary shape integration in a wide range of organisms (e. g. Drosophila wings, Potentilla leaves, dinosaur skulls…). As seen with developmental approaches, shape is usually a highly canalized character and it behaves as such also at a macroevolutionary scale. This fact is important to understand the theoretical evolution of shape under different evolutionary models and the resulting theoretical rates of homoplasy we may expect, which I have also studied.