Name : Patricia Escalante
Institution : Instituto de Biología, UNAM
Title or job description : Researcher and Curator of Birds
Country : Mexico
Primary or relevant fields of barcoding research :
Featured Member Questions
1. What are you working on now (in regards to barcoding)? How are you currently using barcoding in your research?
My project is the Birds of Mexico. We have a tissue collection that is the basis for this project and I am trying to assess the existence of groups of populations that deserve species recognition. For me, the barcode is a means to explore bird diversity at the genetic level, and then compare with morphospecies concept. We then reassess morphological and vocal variation, and in some cases other genetic markers. We also are exploring biogeographic patterns in this group.
2. What is the biggest hurdle to your research?
We have an active field program but the basic hurdle is perhaps funding, after that field work just takes some time; we try to go in the field mainly in the breeding season to catch resident birds only. Another hurdle is the administration, but it is ok.
3. Have there been any discoveries, innovations, new protocols or equipment that have made a big impact on your barcoding research?
The molecular data is very enlightening, and the variation in the barcode marker has worked very well. The biogeographic picture is very good, for instance many species are showing similar patterns of separation between Western and Eastern Mexico that were undetected before. Also, sometimes at the edge of distribution there are well-marked separations, that look like the previously described leap-frog patters of geographic differentiation.
4. How can Connect help you?
I would like to expand this analysis to Meso and South America. I hope that more colleagues use this resource, it is better that email, and although one does not have to be connected all the time it is easier.
5. Are you planning to attend the Adelaide conference in November?
Yes, by all means.
6. What is your top priority for the conference?
I am very interested in the barcode frontier, for instance how are we doing regarding microbes or fungi, new application, and new technologies. I would like to learn about the vertebrate campaign, but the opportunity to broaden our spectrum of knowledge directly is what I appreciate very much in a Conference, especially because sometimes people reach me for different projects that birds.
7. You were a contributor in the mtDNA journal issue for MEXbol. Is there anything specific you would like to tell Connect members about this journal?
This is an example of the results we are trying to produce in our campaign, and more is coming. We are grateful to CONACYT and to CONABIO for the partial funding it is giving to MexBOL members and I also appreciate my colleagues Ticul ALvarez and Manuel Elias, that although they did not participate in this number they are doing lots of hard work in MexBOL.