Featured Researcher

Dr. Aymer A. Vasquez Ordoñez

PhD in Science - Biology, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia 2022

BSc in Biology, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia 2010

Current position:

Researcher, Fundación Ecovivero, Colombia - 2021 to Present.

Professor, Unidad Central del Valle del Cauca, Colombia - 2022 to Present.

Research interests

Rhynchophorus; Dynamis; Ecology and evolution of biological interactions of arthropods; Taxonomy and natural history of tropical arthropods; Dissemination of biological and historical knowledge

My interest in weevils began in 2012, when I met Bernhard Löhr, my doctoral thesis supervisor, a renowned palm weevil entomologist. At that time, we found a phenotype of Rhynchophorus that left us puzzled, because we thought we only had R. ferrugineus in Colombia. Our morphological and genetic analysis suggested that it was a polymorphism of R. palmarum present in a population of the geographic valley of the Cauca River in Colombia (https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0143210). From there began my passion for the group, from a taxonomic approach at first, until I started to plan my doctorate in 2016, trying to improve the phytosanitary diagnosis of the worst crisis that the peach palm (Bactris gasipaes, the only palm domesticated by Amerindians) crop has experienced in the world.

This allowed me to expand my research questions on these weevils, attempting to gain a deeper understanding of closed stem borers and inflorescence weevils. These works led me to visit the native forests of the Colombian Pacific (https://doi.org/10.25100/socolen.v46i2.7721) and peach palm crops, across practically half of my country (https://doi.org/10.1653/024.104.0206). All this to find evidence that strongly suggests that the weevil that introduced me to weevils, R. palmarum and a close relative to it (Dynamis borassi) are the causal agents of the damage. This allowed me to deepen my knowledge of the ecology of both weevils, larval morphology (https://doi.org/10.11606/1807-0205/2020.60.special-issue.27), genetic relationships, and morphological changes associated with plant hosts. Weevils have stolen my heart as a professional entomologist and naturalist. I would like to continue my research on these and other weevils, delving into the ecological and evolutionary processes that generate and maintain their close relationship with their host plants. If you want to know more about my work, you can visit my personal website.

Last updated March 25, 2022