Project Details


Behavioral barriers evolve early during divergence and play a critical role during the evolution of
new species.

To fully understand the evolution of animal diversity we need to know how behavioral barriers are mediated by changes in sensory systems and the brain, and how these changes are influenced by natural selection and genomic architecture.

This requires the integration of ecological, behavioural, sensory and neuroanatomical data, both within and between species, as well as information on the underlying genomic and developmental underpinnings.

Heliconia butterflies offer an excellent opportunity to achieve this, as they represent a continuum of closely related species with well-characterized ecologies, high-quality genomic resources, and are emerging as models of evolutionary neurobiology.

This proposal combines emerging technologies, including state-of-the-art genomic techniques, as well as computer vision and machine learning, with field ecological studies through four interrelated objectives.

Specifically, I will ask myself:

1) Does behavioral isolation involve the integration of different sensory modalities, how is their importance related to changes in ecology, and how does their interaction influence speciation?

2) What is the role of natural selection in shaping sensory systems and the brain, and how does this relate to mate-choice behaviors?

3) What is the genomic architecture of behavioral isolation, including changes in preference phenotypes and also the underlying brain and sensory systems?

4) What are the genes involved and can we determine how behavioral barriers are generated both during development and over evolutionary time?

This ambitious project will address some of the most fundamental questions related to the evolution of the ambitious project will address some of the most fundamental questions related to the evolution of behavioral isolation, a process fundamental to speciation and biodiversity, but also has implications for our understanding. of the processes that drive behavioral phenotypes more broadly.


Brains, biodiversity, behaviour, genetics.
Effective start/end date1/1/2012/31/25

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Main Funding Source

  • Installed Capacity (Academic Unit)


  • Bogotá D.C.


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