I am an evolutionary biologist working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Evolab at the University of California at Berkeley. My current research is focused on the biogeography of scorpions in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Islands have long been recognized for their important role in human history as the gateway to the Americas, yet the rich plant and animal communities of the islands are too often overlooked. Centuries of agriculture and development have resulted in major conservation concerns for much of the region. A better understanding of the biodiversity of the islands and the processes that have contributed to its evolution are vital to preserve it for future generations. The region has a long history of scientific study, but major questions remain about the origin and diversification of the islands’ unique plants and animals.

My project will search for answers to those questions by analyzing a living fossil: scorpions. As a major group of predatory arthropods, scorpions are ideal organisms for understanding Caribbean biogeography (the distribution of biodiversity over space and time). This study will examine several independent lineages of scorpions inhabiting the Caribbean, all with varying dispersal abilities, in order to test the role of vicariance (geographic separation) vs. dispersal in the formation of new species in the Caribbean.

Aside from Caribbean biogeography, my research is focused on the systematics of New World buthid scorpions, with a focus on the medically significant genus Centruroides. I am also interested in systematics and biogeography methods and methodology.

I can be reached at espositola {at} gmail{dot}com


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