Dr. Manuel Barrios Izás
Diversity, Systematics and Biogeography of Molytinae from Mesoamerica.
My interest on weevils started from my participation in the project Leaf Litter Arthropods of Mesoamerica -LLAMA- in 2009, where I met Robert Anderson who introduced me to the study of weevils.
Guatemala is a country that is becoming deforested rapidly, so for my Master's thesis I analyzed the diversity of leaf litter weevils in a fragmented landscape in northern Guatemala mountains. Then I started a Doctorate in Juan José Morrone's lab, where I described one fossil from Chiapas amber and the genus Plumolepilius from Mexico and Central America. After that, I was funded by several organizations, which allowed me to collect leaf litter weevils from Guatemala, west Honduras, and Mexico for more than 10 years.
One of the biggest impediments in the study of weevils in Guatemala was the lack of curated specimens in national collections. This forced me to visit museums around North America and Europe (which I was happy to!). During this period, I was hired in the National University in a small town in eastern Guatemala. This was a great opportunity for my career since I got a lot of support for research and its strategically located in a hotspot of biodiversity in Guatemala. So I founded the Insect Collection of Zacapa and a Molecular Biology lab to enhance my work and support colleagues and students.
I am interested in the diversity and systematics of the weevils from Mesoamerica, with special focus on leaflitter and Molytinae. But of course, in this enormous universe of life, it is easy to be attracted by other amazing and bizarre weevils. My current work is focused on: 1) A photographic collection of the Cryptorhynchini holotypes from Guatemala and a key for identification of the genera, 2) the description of some exciting Brachycerinae genera of blind weevils from Mexico and Guatemala, and 3) the description, study of morphological variation and ecological niche of the cactus weevil genus Gerstaeckeria Champion from Guatemala. My future work will focus on the study of the diversity, systematics, and evolutionary patterns of morphological variation of leaflitter cryptorhynchine genera, and to continue with the photographic gallery of holotypes and keys to the genera of weevils from Guatemala.
My research can be read at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Manuel-Barrios-Izas and my personal blog at https://manuelbarriosizas.weebly.com/.