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Ricardo Betancur

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Ricardo Betancur


Ricardo Betancur-R.

Assistant Professor of Biology


Ph.D., Auburn University
405-325-0916 (Phone)
405-325-6202 (Fax)
RH 117

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curriculum vitae


Research in the Betancur lab is broadly concerned with the evolutionary biology of fishes and is oriented around five major aims: (1) inferring relationships and testing evolutionary hypotheses in the context of such relationships, (2) uncovering drivers of morphological and lineage diversification, (3) elucidating processes that explain spatial and temporal patterns of distribution of species and populations within species, (4) understanding the genetic basis of adaptive traits, and (5) documenting the diversity of marine and freshwater fish faunas. This research scope includes strong fieldwork and collection-based components and we use a variety of genomic approaches to address questions around these aims.

    Previous and ongoing projects have focused on unraveling the pattern and tempo of fish evolution using molecular and fossil-based data, addressing the classification of "all fishes", uncovering the factors driving diversification and morphological evolution in relation to habitat transitions (e.g., marine and freshwaters), understanding the sources of phylogenetic conflict in genome-wide data, identifying barriers of marine fish connectivity in the Caribbean, testing hypotheses about the timing of divergence in transoceanic clades, assessing species boundaries, describing new species, among others. 


  • Rincon-Sandoval, M.*, E. Duarte-Ribeiro*, A. M. Davis, A. Santaquiteria, L. C. Hughes, C. C.  Baldwin, L. Soto-Torres, H. J. Walker, K. E. Carpenter, M. Sheaves, G. Ortí, D. Arcila, &  R. Betancur-R.* 2020. Evolutionary determinism and convergence associated with water-column transitions in marine fishes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. *Equal contribution.
  • Hughes, L.C. , G. Ortí, J. Enk, H. Saad, C. Li , W.T. White, C. Baldwin, D. Arcila, R. & Betancur-R. 2020. Exon probe sets and bioinformatics pipelines for all levels of fish phylogenomics. Molecular Ecology Resources.
  • Hughes, L.C., Y. Cardozo, J. Sommer, R. Cifuentes, M. Cuello, G.M. Somoza, M. González-Castro, L.R. Malabaraba, V. Cussac, E.M. Habit, Betancur-R., R. & G. Ortí. 2020. Biogeography, habitat transitions and hybridization in a radiation of South American silverside fishes revealed by mitochondrial and genomic RAD data. Molecular Ecology.
  • Pedraza-Marrón, C.R.* R. Silva, J. Deeds, S.M. Van Belleghem, A. Mastretta-Yanes, O. Domínguez-Domínguez, R.A. Rivero-Vega, L. Lutackas, D. Murie, D. Parkyn, L. Bullock, K. Foss, H. Ortiz-Zuazaga, J. Narváez-Barandica, A. Acero, G. Gomes & Betancur-R., R.* 2019. Genomics overrules mitochondrial DNA, siding with morphology on a controversial case of species delimitation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286 (1900). *Equal contribution.
  • Rincon-Sandoval, M.* Betancur-R., R.* & J. Maldonado-Ocampo. 2019. Comparative phylogeography of trans-Andean freshwater fishes based on genome-wide nuclear and mitochondrial markers. Molecular Ecology *Equal contribution. 
  • Ribeiro, E.D., A. Davis, R. A. Rivero-Vega, G. Ortí, & R. Betancur-R. 2018. Post-Cretaceous bursts of evolution along the benthic-pelagic axis in marine fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B
  • Betancur-R., R.*, D. Arcila*, R. Vari, L. Hughes, M. Sabaj, C. Oliveira & G. Ortí. 2018. Phylogenomic incongruence, hypothesis testing, and taxonomic sampling: the monophyly of characiform fishes. Evolution (doi:10.1111/evo.13649). *Equal contribution.               
  • Hughes, L.C., G. Ortí, Y. Huang, Y. Sun, C.C. Baldwin, A.W. Thompson, D. Arcila, Betancur-R., R., C. Li, L. Becker et al. et al. Comprehensive phylogeny of ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) based on transcriptomic and genomic data. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Betancur-R., R., E. O. Wiley, G. Arratia, A. Acero, M. Miya, G. Lecointre & G. Ortí. Phylogenetic classification of bony fishes. BMC Evolutionary Biology 17(162): DOI: 10.1186/s12862-017-0958-3.
  • A. Davis & R. Betancur-R. 2017. Widespread ecomorphological convergence in multiple fish families spanning the marine-freshwater interface. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284(1854).
  • Arcila, D., R. Vari, J. W. Armbruster, M. Stiassny, K. D. Ko, M. H. Sabaj, J. Lundberg, L. Revell, G. Ortí & Betancur-R., R. 2017. Genome-wide interrogation advances resolution of recalcitrant groups in the Tree of Life. Nature Ecology and Evolution 1:0020.
  • A. Davis, P. Unmack, R. Vari & R. Betancur-R. 2016. Herbivory promotes lineage diversification and dental disparification in grunters (Teleostei: Terapontidae), a freshwater adaptive radiation. The American Naturalist 187(3).
  • Betancur-R., R., G. Ortí & R. A. Pyron. 2015. Fossil-based comparative analyses reveal ancient marine ancestry erased by extinction in ray-finned fishes. Ecology Letters 18: 441–450.
  • Betancur-R., R., G. Naylor & G. Ortí. 2014. Conserved genes, sampling error, and phylogenomic inference. Systematic Biology 63(2): 257-262.
  • Betancur-R., R., T. A Munroe, C. Li, J. A. Ballesteros & G. Ortí. 2013. Addressing gene tree discordance and non-stationarity to resolve a multi-locus phylogeny of the flatfishes (Teleostei: Pleuronectiformes). Systematic Biology 62(5): 763–785.
  • Betancur-R, R., R.E. Broughton, E.O. Wiley, K. Carpenter, J.A. Lopez, C. Li, G. Arratia, N.I. Holcroft, D. Arcila, M. Sanciangco, J. Cureton, F. Zhang, T. Buser, M. Campbell, T. Rowley, J.A. Ballesteros, G. Lu, T. Grande, G. Orti. 2013. The tree of life and a new classification of bony fishes. PloS Currents Tree of Life. Press releases: ScienceDaily, e! Science News, PLoS Blogs, GWU.
  • Betancur-R., R. G. Ortí, A. M. Stein, A. P. Marceniuk & R. A. Pyron. 2012. Apparent signal of competition limiting diversification after ecological transitions from marine to freshwater habitats. Ecology Letters 15 (8): 822–830.