Sebastián Vélez, 33
Third-year graduate student at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University


HOMETOWN: Bayamon, Puerto Rico

WORK/RESEARCH: Vélez's research is centered on the question of why there are so many species in the world, which he hopes to answer from an island biogeographical perspective. His fieldwork takes him to the islands of the Caribbean, where he studies various species of beetles to understand if they form there or come from surrounding regions.

REPRESENTATIVE PAPER: S. Vélez, J.L. Feder, "Integrating biogeographic and genetic approaches to investigate the history of bioluminescent color alleles in the Jamaican click beetle Pyrophorus plagiophthalamus," Mol Ecol, 15:1339-1404, 2006.

GOAL: To become a tenure-track research professor in evolutionary ecology within the next five years.

KEY MOMENT: "I was building a home in Puerto Rico in 1998, and I was just putting in the windows and doors when Hurricane Georges came...

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