My research deals with ecological diversification among Neotropical cichlids (Teleostei: Cichlidae: Cichlinae), with particular emphasis on Crenicichla (Cichlidae) in subtropical South America. I am interested in the evolution of body shape and lower pharyngeal jaw shape among major lineages, particularly, shifts in rates of evolution and convergence. To address these interests, I using next generation sequencing, geometric morphometrics, stable isotope ratios and organismal stoichiometry.
Crenicichla tendybaguassu Lucena and Kullander 1992
Secondly, I am interested in the comparative functional ecology of four freshwater crustacean lineages in subtropical South America: Paractacidae ("crayfish"), Trichodactylidae ("crabs"), Palaemonidae ("shrimps"), and Aeglidae. I am particularly interested in how the apparent intermediate morphology of Aeglidae (between crayfishes/shrimps and crabs) manifests itself from a functional perspective.
Aegla uruguayana (Aeglidae)
Lastly, I am interested in the functional roles and trophic relationships among sympatric minnows in the Southeastern US (Cyprinidae). Particularly, morphological-ecological associations and linkages between species identity and ecosystem function.