Phylogenetic and Biogeographic Analysis of Craneflies (Diptera: Tipulomorpha)

Summer 2017

Ivonne Verduzco : Molecular and Cell Biology: Developmental Genetics

Mentor: Patrick O'Grady

Members of the superfamily Tipuloidea, commonly called craneflies, are the largest group of Diptera, or flies. There are currently 18,000 species known. While this group is an important player in most ecosystems, serving as general decomposers, predators, or crop pests, little is known about the relationships between cranefly families or genera. My research is aimed at deconstructing the uncertainty of these relationships. A phylogenetic hypothesis for this group will facilitate further studies of cranefly evolution and will help answer questions about diversification in this group. For example, why are there so many cranefly species when most groups of flies only have a few thousand species?
Furthermore, we are using molecular clock techniques to obtain a temporal perspective on cranefly evolution, dating the origin of the various families, genera and subgenera in this lineage.

Thank you Rose Hills Foundation for the opportunity to spend my time researching this summer. This experience allowed me to appreciate research at a whole different level. I didn't understand how fulfilling it was to create your own question and spend time gathering data to back up what you are trying to answer until this scholarship. This experience has made me start looking into possibly incorporating research into my career as a medical professional, which I did not consider before this summer. Through the help of the Rose Hills Foundation and with this fellowship, I leave this summer feeling more confident in my abilities as a researcher and more determined to tackle any research issues that come my way during my last year at Berkeley. Thank you!