The Numerical and Experimental Zoology Laboratory in the Department of Biology at the University of Florence joins the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) as the consortium’s 40th member. Dr. Leonardo Dapporto, who leads the lab – known as “Zen Lab” for short – will represent Italy on iBOL’s Science Committee.
Dapporto’s research focuses on the evolution of butterfly biodiversity through space and time. He leads comprehensive DNA barcoding initiatives, including creating a complete library for Western European butterflies and establishing the first phylogenetic tree for all European species and an extensive dataset of traits.
Dapporto maintains and is an author of the recluster R package, a statistical tool for the spatial analysis of biodiversity patterns. By combining large amounts of DNA barcoding data with species traits and phylogeny, he has revealed unexpected layers of insular diversity, the relationships between genetic differentiation and functional traits, the first intraspecific zoogeographic maps for Europe, and a generalization for the “southern richness and northern purity” paradigm. Dapporto combines DNA barcoding, nuclear markers, geometric morphometrics, gas chromatography/Mass spectrometry with integrative taxonomy in his research. Where discoveries are infrequent with European butterflies, Leonardo’s approach has revealed several cryptic European butterfly species, including Spialia rosae, Muschampia alta, and Zerynthia cassandra. He has also clarified the distribution and the phylogeography of many other groups, including Polyommatus, Leptidea, Spialia, Melanargia, Lasiommata, and others.
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Dr. Leonardo Dapporto, head of “Zen Lab” and the representative for Italy on iBOL’s Science Committee.
The International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Consortium is a research alliance with a mission to develop and apply a globally accessible, DNA-based system for the discovery and identification of all multicellular life. Our vision is to illuminate biodiversity for the benefit of our living planet.