I am interested in studying nematode diversity and their role in ecosystem function. Nematodes can be used as model organisms and bioindicators to study environmental changes in acquatic and soil ecosystems. Moreover, nematodes play key role in N and C cyclying. One of my ongoing research interests foucses on insect-parasitic nematode diversity of southern Arizona’s oak woodlands. Oak diversity in Arizona is vast but with a scattered distribution in the different mountain ranges. This particular distribution of oak woodlands in the ‘sky-islands” of southeastern Arizona, provides an interesting framework to document the diversity and study the population structure ofentomopathogenic nematodes associated to these habitats. In this study, an integrated approach, combining both traditional (morphological) and molecular methods, is proposed for examining the species diversity of insect-pathogenic nematodes. In addition to developing a deeper understanding of the biology and ecology of insect parasitic nematodes, the present study will also provide an important tool for the identification of species and isolates for registration, quarantine, and proprietary protection purposes. We envision these results will be useful to other researchers interested in conservation of biotic diversity and in applying this knowledge to non-chemical and non-toxic pest control programs, therefore protecting and improving the quality of our environment.
Ph.D., Natural Sciences, National University of La Plata, Argentina, 1992