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SERGEI TARASOV

PI

I am the Coleoptera (beetles) curator at Finnish Museum of Natural History. My background and interests are dung beetle systematics, modeling trait evolution and development of new ontology-based tools for species description.

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DIEGO PORTO

Postdoc

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Finnish Museum of Natural History (LUOMUS). My current research is focused on the development and application of new phylogenetic and semantic tools integrating knowledge from insect anatomy and computational ontologies. In simple terms, I am working to make computers ‘understand’ insect anatomy and use this knowledge to produce better models to study trait evolution and infer phylogenies. My focal interests are the systematics and comparative morphology of bees. My broad interests include insect anatomy, arthropod phylogeny, systematics, phylogenetic comparative methods, and computational ontologies.

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Postdoc

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Finnish Museum of Natural History (LUOMUS). My research focuses on understanding the phylogenetic relationships of extant and extinct species of dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) from Madagascar and Mascarenes by using genomics and ancient DNA. I am part of a project that aims to reconstruct detailed evolutionary dynamics of the stunning dung beetle diversity in the Malagasy region and the associated mass extinction events likely caused by human activity. My research interests are molecular systematics, population genomics, and phylogeography, with particular emphasis on the methods that account for hybridization. Previously, I was studying how environmental conditions influence marine mammals' population structure and diversification.

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Postdoc

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I'm a postdoctoral researcher at Finnish Museum of Natural History (LUOMUS) and my research interests include alpha-taxonomy, systematics and biogeography of scarab beetles (especially Scarabaeinae dung beetles), but also ecological interactions between beetles and fungi. Over the years, I gained solid knowledge in insect morphology, taxonomy and entomological collections management. My current research at LUOMUS aims at investigating engines responsible for the evolutionary radiation and success of Malagasy dung beetles (Madagascar + Mascarene islands), including the main causes of their extinction on Mascarene Archipelago. Additionally, since 2013, I am involved in the taxonomic and systematic study of American Onthophagus.

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THOMAS MERRIEN

PhD student

I am a PhD student at the Tarasov and Cardoso Labs. My interests are disentangling mechanisms that drive the evolution of species and reconstructing the dynamics of their geographic distribution, traits, and evolutionary rates. Currently, I am working on comparative phylogenetics methods and historical biogeography. In my work, I mostly use mathematical models applied to various fields of biology, genetics, and statistics. My PhD aims at developing a framework that models the evolution of specis geographic ranges on phylogenetic trees given current range data and geographic landscape. My target taxon is dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) from Madagascar. 

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FEDERICA LOSACCO

MSc student & Research trainee

I am an MSc student (Conservation/Evolution) at the University of Pisa (Italy) and also a research trainee at the Finnish Museum of Natural History (LUOMUS). I am currently working on extant and extinct dung beetle species endemic to the Mascarene islands. Specifically, my research focuses on the taxonomy of the genus Nesosisyphus, and the digitization of thousands of subfossils to reveal and describe new species through Micro-CT 3D modeling. I also provide technical assistance with beetle specimen preparation and management (labeling, digitizing, and preparing samples for DNA analysis). This part of my work is mainly related to the Madagascan dung beetle project, and dung beetles' wet and dry collection. My current MSc thesis project concerns the impact of wildfires on ground-dwelling arthropods.

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GIULIO MONTANARO

MSc student & Research trainee

I am an Evolutionary Biology MSc student at the University of Padova (Italy). I have been carrying out my thesis at the Finnish Museum of Natural History LUOMUS, where I currently work as research trainee. I am broadly interested in every aspect concerning dung beetles (Scarabaeinae). My current research focuses on taxonomy, systematics and phylogenetics, but I am always willing to learn and apply new approaches and methods to study dung beetle diversity and evolution. I am working, together with other members of the Tarasov lab, on an integrative taxonomic revision of the rare Deltochilini genera from the Eastern Arc Mountains (Tanzania), using both morpho-molecular species delimitation and ontology-based semantic descriptions. Other projects of mine (usually too many) focus mainly on the hyperdiverse tribe Onthophagini. Apart from beetles, I spend my time listening to music, looking for mushrooms and planning to go somewhere in Africa.

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MARCELY VALOIS

Lab Alumni

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Marcely is visiting LUOMUS during 22 Aug 2019 - 29 Jan 2020. She is a PhD student at Universidade Federal do Para (Brazil). Her project focuses on reconstructing phylogeny of the diverse Neotropical dung beetle tribe Dichotomiini.

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SHEILA CASSENOTE FERREIRA

Lab Alumni

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Sheila is visiting LUOMUS during 4 Sep 2019 - 29 Feb 2020. She is doing her PhD at Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (UFSM) (Brazil). Her PhD project is entitled “Taxonomy, Biogeography and Phylogeny of Neotropical Dichotomius from carbonarius species group”.

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MAYBE YOU? JOIN THE LAB!

New Lab member

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Contact Sergei if you are interested to join the Lab.